Me and the donkeys made a movie for you about caring for your flower bulbs after they bloom. It seems to be that the standard practice is to roll the tops into a ball, put a rubber band around them and wait for them to turn brown before you cut them off.
But in my dirt farmer brain that method makes no sense. The reason that you leave the tops on the bulb is so the tops can photosynthesize and nourish and feed the bulbs so they will stay healthy and reproduce for next season.
But if you roll the tops into a ball, how can they photosynthesize? I know, I know, that’s just how it’s done, that’s how your grandmother did it and how her grandmother did it. But you know what? Sometimes old practices just are not correct.
Watch the movie and the donkeys and I will show you what I’m talking about.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I will respond. Until then, by any and all means stay inspired!
How do you propagate Harry Lauder and curly willow?
Curly willow would be easy via hardwood cuttings in late winter. Harry Lauder’s is either grafted onto a filbert seedling or layered. They can be rooted but it’s really difficult.
Mike, I agree with you. Leave the bulbs in the ground.
Now nothing to do with bulbs. Last Feb. I pruned Mum’s two apple trees. I used the snow. It was high enough that I could reach the top branches. Oh , I used my snowshoes so I would not sink in the snow.
The trees are about 35 years old. No one did any pruning prior to me.
I took some of the pruned branches and stuck them in a planter with soil that I thawed out by leaving inside.
I see five sticks have leaves on them.
What do I do now?
Growing season here in New Brunswick Canada is now. Frost and cold weather mid Nov. Snow can come in Nov. but usually arrives in December.
Do I remove them from the planter and plant in ground? Or leave for the fall?
I wouldn’t disturb them until fall. Even though they have leaves, they might have few roots right now.
Ok, fall it is.
Bert Ludwig says
How do you keep the deer ticks and deer flier off the Finnie and Fergie? Thanks for your infos and endeavors, you’ve help a lot!
I spray them daily in the summer with a fly spray. Sometimes twice a day.
I think your pup wants to be a part of your videos!!! 🙂
She does, we’ll get her in a movie. But she moves fast, a bit hard to keep up with a camera!
I have always heard that you should add bone meal to the bulbs after blooming.. You didn’t mention this so should this be done?
I’m sure it would help with some phosphorous but I’m not sure it’s necessary. I’ve never used it on anything. I’m always of the notion that plants know what to do and really don’t need us meddling in their affairs. I tell our members, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, that I run my nursery on three kinds of glop in a bottle and two of those are for weed control. Maybe four because I do use a rooting compound but rarely spray anything.
Donna Ratliff says
Hi Mike, I just found your blog while searching for small plant nurseries. I love your blog and binge reading a lot of it right now. I also ram across that you have videos too. Im thrilled as I grow most all my food. I want to join here. Do you save our email addresses and send an email when there’s a new posting? I couldnt find anywhere to join?
Aka Wildberry Forest Homestead.
There should be a pop up window where you can subscribe when you visit. If not, email my son and he’ll help you out. [email protected] or [email protected]
Elizabeth Lawrence says
I live in California and had some tulips given to me which I planted and they bloomed just fine but now that the leaves are dying someone told me to put the bulbs in the refrigerator until spring and then replant. What is your suggestion?
In Ohio we would not have to do that. Me? I’ leave them in the ground. If it doesn’t work you can do it different next time.
Mike Buturla says
Good morning Mike,
Make sense not to roll up the leaves. I never heard of that be for, learned a lot from my 93 year old grandmother about gardening when I was a youngster and am grateful that I did. A lot of it is what you have taught us.
By the way, how about introducing us to your new puppy in your next video.
Mike from Voluntown, CT.
Thanks Mike, yeah, I need to do that!
How do you reproduce a crape myrtle ?
My daughter has a gorgeous blood red blooming crape myrtle that I’d like
to duplicate !?
They are pretty easy to do via softwood cuttings in the summer. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/01/easy-summertime-plant-propagation-techniques-can-home/
As always, I enjoyed your video. I want to know how to keep my seasonal bulbs bought in containers after blooming? Thank you.
Those bulbs would be happiest in the ground. They need the cold over winter.
But what do you do with the bulbs. I heard put them in an old pair of pantyhose after they’re done blooming. My husband put a lot of mulch there(too mulch!) ha ha. The stemslook ugly by themselves. I say dig up the bulb and save it for next year so it doesn’t rot.
You can dig them but they are meant to stay in the ground and just re-bloom each year. If they are rotting the area is too wet.
Charline Jolly says
At Filoli they under plant bulbs with nemesia to hide the withering foliage after blooming.
Charline Jolly says
I like to braid my narcissus after blooming and tie them with a strand of raffia. Leaves enough exposed to sunlight for photosynthesis and makes clean up easy when dried up.
Peter Abood says
Thank you Mike, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say in this video; my question is once the leaves die and no longer perform photosynthesis what do you do next? Do you leave the bulbs in the ground and cut back the leaves? Will that make the plant prone to disease?
We just cut off the tops. The bulbs know what to do. If we didn’t touch them the tops would dry, blow away and the bulbs would bloom each spring.
JL Sankot says
Mike, When can I dig up my bulbs to move to a new location? Or should I even do this?
Once the tops start dying off you can dig them. Store in a cool dry place or re-plant immediately.
JL Sankot says
you’ve lost weight! Your arms and face are a lot thinner. Keep up to good work. My family never rolled the bulb leaves into balls – just never made sense to us i suppose.
Wow, you’re looking great Mike! And yes that’s what i do, leave the greens intake till they turn brown, then cut it all back. Or tulips grow huge flowers!
Thanks for all your help in there gardens. We’re currently getting more rain and colds.. Unusual for this late in June! (Just north of Spokane WA