Bulbs did not flower - Knowledgebase Question

Omaha, Ne
Question by debhoffnung
April 12, 2010
I moved this winter and the previous owner of my house has perennials and bulbs in the ground that are now beginning to bud and bloom. All of the bulbs have tall leaves but no blooms. Several of the non-bloomers are in the shade, but the ones in the sun haven't bloomed either. Is there something I should do? Might they just be old bulbs that should be dug up and replaced this fall?

Answer from NGA
April 12, 2010


There are two common causes for non blooming with bulbs: overcrowding - they should be dug and divided, or the leaves of the bulbs were removed prematurely last year. It's okay to cut down the spent flower and stem but the leaves should be allowed to ripen and turn brown before they are removed. As long as they are green they are manufacturing and transporting energy back to the bulb for the following year's floral display. Bulbs should be dug and divided every few years so it won't hurt at all to dig and divide yours this year. Wait until the foliage dies down then dig with a garden fork amend the soil with some compost, toss a tablespoon of bone meal into the planting hole and reset the bulbs, about twice as deep as they are wide and keeping them about 4" apart. Next spring they should bloom their little heads off!

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