Flower Bulb Care


Flowering bulbs include both spring bulbs such as daffodils and summer blooms such as gladiolus. Most flower bulbs are perennial and bloom again each year, as long as they are properly cared for. Bulbs store everything they need to grow and bloom the following year inside the bulb structure. Every few years the bulbs produce offset bulbs that can then be dug up and replanted, extending your garden. Proper care ensures that bulbs collect the proper nutrients as well as produce healthy offsets.

Step 1

Fertilize spring bulbs at the time of planting and each fall with a bulb fertilizer or general purpose fertilizer. Apply one tablespoon of fertilizer per square foot of gardening bed. Work it into the top of the soil but avoid placing it directly on the plants or bulbs, as it may damage them. Apply a second fertilization in spring when the plants begin growing.

Step 2

Fertilize summer and fall bulbs every four weeks from when the plant begins growing in late spring or early summer until they begin producing blooms. Apply two pounds of standard 8-8-8 fertilizer per every 100 square feet.

Step 3

Water bulb beds often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy throughout spring, summer and fall. Apply a two-inch layer of mulch around the plants to maintain soil moisture between watering.

Step 4

Divide bulbs every three years or if they begin flowering less. Dig up the bulbs and pull them apart where the new bulbs join the old one. Replant the bulbs to a depth twice that of their width, with the pointed end facing up.

Step 5

Leave the foliage in place on the bulbs until it begins to yellow and die back. The foliage is necessary for gathering nutrients. Cut off spring bulb foliage at ground level approximately six to eight weeks after blooming. Remove foliage from summer bulbs once it dies back in fall or after the first fall frost.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bulbs will rot in overly wet beds. Plant them in well-drained beds and avoid over-watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Spade
  • Shears


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Perennial Bulbs
  • Cass County Extension: Spring Bulbs
Keywords: flower bulb care, spring bulb maintenance, growing summer bulbs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.