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Mastering the Basics

A quick guide: What to do when tulips have faded

Want to know what to do when tulips have stopped looking their best? Read our quick guide on how to tackle this late spring job.

After tulips have faded, you have a few options to tidy up their appearance and care for the bulbs. Read our quick guide below:

Deadhead the flowers

Deadheading tulips involves removing the faded flowers from the stems. This can improve the appearance of the plants and prevent them from putting energy into seed production. Snip off the flower stems just above the first set of leaves using sharp, clean secateurs.

Leave the foliage intact

Just like with daffodils, it's crucial to leave the foliage of tulips intact until it has completely withered and turned yellow. The leaves continue to gather sunlight and store energy in the bulbs for next year's growth. Removing the foliage prematurely can weaken the bulbs. You can gently bend the foliage down or braid it to tidy up the appearance without damaging it.

Consider replanting or composting

If the tulips were planted in a location where they won't return next year (such as in annual flower beds), you can remove the bulbs from the ground once the foliage has withered and store them for replanting in the autumn. Alternatively, if you don't plan to replant them, you can compost the bulbs.

Plant annuals or perennials

Once the tulips have finished blooming and their foliage has withered, you can plant annual or perennial flowers in the same location to fill the space and maintain visual interest in your garden.

Key take away

By deadheading the flowers and leaving the foliage intact until it has withered, you can help your tulips continue to thrive and prepare for next year's blooms while maintaining a tidy appearance in your garden.

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