UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Monthly Tip

Keep Foliage after Bloom Fade

Tip description

Iris that needs to be cleaned up.
To keep bulbs/corms/rhizomes/tubers blooming each year, leave the plant’s foliage in the ground long after the blossoms have withered. That’s because the foliage needs to photosynthesize to store energy in the bulb for next year’s blooms. Deadhead the spent flowers by cutting the stalks from the finished blooms all the way back to the base, Then wait for the foliage to die back and turn yellow before removing it. Some people tie the leaves together to tidy the garden, but that’s not advised because it limits the light needed for photosynthesis. As an alternative, intersperse annuals to hide the foliage until it can be removed.

If the plants seemed crowded and the flowers were getting smaller, carefully dig them up, separate the bulbs, and replant them with greater spacing. Toss any bulbs/corms/rhizomes/tubers that are mushy or show other signs of rot. And continue to enjoy easy-maintenance flowers year after year.  

More information: Basic Bulb Care

Months applicable
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • 1. To-do

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