Elisabeth C. Miller Library logo Miller Library Home UW Botanic Gardens Home UW Botanic Gardens Home book graphic

3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98195 | (206) 543 0415 | Open Monday 9-8; Tuesday - Friday 9-5; Saturday 9-3

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase


Knowledgebase record #64


Garden Tool What to do with a flower bulb once the flower is gone? It depends! For daffodils, remove the seed head, but let all the foliage turn yellow before you remove it. Braiding the foliage is not recommended because the toxins in the leaves can cause contact dermatitis. If a clump is getting crowded dig and separate the bulbs once the leaves have started to wither. Thin out the small and damaged bulbs and replant the rest. Or store the bulbs, unwashed, in a dry shaded place until September.

For tulips, it's a bit more complex. Most showy, large-flowered tulips don't rebloom well, so should be treated like an annual- dug up and tossed. However, Darwin Hybrids, 'Apeldoorn' is one example, do rebloom the following year. These should be allowed to yellow and wither naturally and their seed heads removed. They can be divided when the foliage withers. If you don't know what you have, play it safe and leave your tulips for another year. If the show is disappointing then dig them up and toss.

For a fun tour of the world of bulbs try Lois Hole's Favorite Bulbs (Hole's, $1995), a book packed with photos, trivia, growing advice and design tips.

Asters, chrysanthemum, salvias and ornamental grasses are a few perennials that emerge and distract the eye when bulb foliage is yellowing.

Keywords Tulipa, Narcissus, Bulbs
Season Spring
Created Date 2007-04-03

Need an answer to your gardening question? Ask us directly!

Browse keywords or Search Again:

Keyword Search

We are continually adding new questions, so be sure to keep coming back.

June 24 2013 13:17:10