General Care for flowering & dormant bulbs bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

millbrae, Ca
Avatar for drmagsaysay
Question by drmagsaysay
July 8, 2010
I have several flowering bulbs, dahlias, iris, lilies. After flowering,I learned to keep the leaves on. Is that true to all bulbs? (unsightly) Also if they yellow and die completely, should I still water the bulbs? I have also other plants that die/dormant, shd I water them in their dormant stage? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
July 8, 2010
It's true with all bulbs in terms of cutting off the flowering stem but allowing the foliage to die down naturally. The leaves are busy transporting carbohydrates back into the bulbs for next year's floral display. Once the leaves die down you can remove them from the garden. The dying foliage can be unattractive but you can sometimes hide it if you plant annuals in the garden around the bulbs. As the annuals grow they tend to camouflage the unsightly bulb foliage. And, since annuals have small root systems they won't bother your other plants. I wouldn't deliberately go out of my way to water the bulbs when they are dormant. They won't use the water because they are resting, but keeping the soil moist will help keep them from drying out and dying. If your bulbs are planted in a flower bed that you normally water anyway, the water will be helpful. Hope this answers all your questions.

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