Thursday, 06 May 2021 13:50

Growth Energy: “Recharging” Flowering Bulbs

By Written & Photographed by Peter Bowden | Home & Garden
Growth Energy: “Recharging” Flowering Bulbs

Just about now, the spring flowering bulbs are finishing up their spring show. 

Cool weather in late April extended the show the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and others put on for a delightfully long time. If you have trouble getting your bulbs to come back bigger and better every year, you probably need a reminder on the “after care” they need right now as they are finishing up. 

The trick to perpetual success with bulbs is to think of them as rechargeable batteries. To make sure that they return in greater numbers with more flowers, you need to know how to “recharge the battery” after they flower in spring.  The “growth energy” stored in the bulb since last fall is quickly depleted during the all-out effort to flower in spring. 

To “recharge” your bulbs, you’ll want to wait until after the flower “go by” or shrivel up. Then cut the spent flower off including the stem it was on. Make sure that you don’t cut off the leave though. Think of the bulbs’ leaves as solar collectors that change sunlight into “growth energy” that is sent to the bulb below for storage. Don’t cut off these solar collectors when you remove the spent blossoms. 

With the flowers cut off the bulb won’t waste “growth energy” producing seeds. Instead, that “growth energy” will instead be directed to the bulb where it is stored until next spring’s flowering cycle. 

This is also the time to feed the bulbs. My favorite bulb food is Espoma Bulb-Tone. It will provide the balance of nutrients your bulbs will need, along with the energy from the sun that the leaves are still collecting, to grow the bulb below even bigger and better so you’ll have more plants with more flowers every spring. To feed the bulbs, simply poke some holes into the soil among the bulbs and pour a little food into the holes. This will get the food closer to the roots that will absorb and make use if it. 

Remember; don’t cut the leaves off, just the flower stems. The leaves will eventually turn yellow as summer begins letting you know they’ve finished their job charging up your “bulb batteries” for another spring filled with the flowers we love so much after a long winter.

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