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Camouflaging bulb leaves

Spring blossom - naturalisation.
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)
Naturalised bulbs

The foliage of spring-flowering bulbs quickly starts to look messy once they have finished blooming. 

It is important not to cut the leaves back too soon, however, because the plants need them to perform photosynthesis and produce the nutrients that will be stored in the bulbs, so that they can grow the next year. In fact, you should leave the foliage until it has turned yellow and dry.

Here are a few solutions that can help mask the unsightly leaves:

  • Although it is not always easy to prepare the soil and plant annuals between the bulbs, they are a good way to camouflage the fading foliage.
  • Another option is to move the bulbs to another spot in your garden and move them back in the fall.
  • Instead of digging up your plants in the spring, you can plant your bulbs in the fall in black plastic pots like the ones in which trees and tropical plants are sold. Bury the pots in the ground and cover them with a few centimetres of soil. The next spring, you can dig up the pots and move them to a sunny, but less visible, spot. Then you can just plant annuals in the empty holes. Come fall, you can replant the potted bulbs in their original locations.

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