Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Deadheading Bulb Flowers

The last several days I’ve been deadheading daffodils, hyacinths and tulips.

As the flowers fade I snip the stalk. I don’t want seeds to develop. You can see the seed head beginning to form on the daffodil as a bulge behind the flower. Ripe seeds could grow into a new daffodil. But, it takes 5 to 7 years to bloom – if you do everything right. Much better to buy bulbs or divide existing clumps.


Making seed saps the bulb's energy. I want the energy to go into the bulb so it can produce blooms next year. The leaves remain to nourish the bulbs. One year I folded and rubber banded all the leaves. Not only was it time consuming but I think it looked worse than yellowing leaves. I’m also not sure how much nourishment the bulbs got from those little knots. I don’t think anyone recommends that method today.

I planted perennials near some bulbs to camouflage the fading leaves. Lilies, asters, cone flowers, black-eyed susans, hosta and daylilies do a good job hiding the fading bulb foliage. Sometimes I plant annuals in front of the clump. I add a little bone meal or Bulb Tone.

I snip the cuttings into two to four inch pieces and compost them. They make colorful compost, don’t they?

(More information on growing bulbs from Ohio State University Extension, Purdue University Extension “Flowering Bulbs” .)


Kathy said...

I never thought about daffodils creating seeds...

Marie said...


I always wondered what I would get if I had the patience to grow a daffodill from seed.