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I am not 100% sure on this but mostly will depend on the bulb/flower. I know that most of them take thier nutrients through the leaves and convert to food and store in the bulb for next year so leaving them is a good idea but then it can differ depending on the bulb.
Let the leaves die back naturally Emma. Some people take the dead flower heads off to stop them wasting energy making seeds but I don't.
You should never cut back the leaves of ANY bulb after flowering, at least not until the leaves have truned brown and dried up. They make food to feed the bulb so you get flowers next year. Even the dying leaves have a function, in that sugars in them a taken back into the roots as they die. You should not tie them in bundles as some folks do either. Leave them alone!
You may even find it useful to feed the bulbs after flowering too. I use a foliage type feed sprayed on to the leaves. If the bulbs are in posts and you need to use the pots then you may carefully remove the bulbs and soil and put it somewhere out of the way in the garden to die down naturally.
By the way, the only silly question is the one you did not ask when you could have done!
Tulips will come later...don't despair. Patience is the gardener's watchword. Next year rely on these to flower again, but plant some more just in case. Can you imagine a Spring without spring flowers...worse even than this one! Happy flowering
Thanks for your advice everyone. I've been wondering what to do with all my daffs that have now finished flowering so now I know!!
PS. Should I dig up my agapanthus roots and plant them in pots instead of in the borders?? I have three that are just showing green shoots. The soil here is like clay and doesn't drain well. I'm a novice too!! Thank you.
I have never grown fritilarias before but have always loved them in other peoples' gardens. As my soil is almost pure chalk, I thought it wiser to avoid them. However, my daughter has just given me 100 bulbs! The question is, should I even think of putting them in the garden soil or would they only survive in pots? I think I would find the latter a bit of a faff.
I should be most grateful for your help and advice.
Which fritillaries have you got?
Hi Nutcutlet, they are fritillaria meleagris.
Hi Phaidra, we're not chalk but very alkaline and they do OK here. They grow naturally in water meadows and moisture will be more important than soil type. They can cope with a winter drowning. Once dormant in summer the need will not be so great. Or, at least, that's what I assume from how they perform here.
They are small bulbs and dry out easily if left in their packaging so soak them overnight in cold water before planting in a damp location.
Hi Phaidra, I too like fritillarias a lot but our soil is what I call porous, water just drains through it, so I thought these,apparently, moisture loving plants would not like it. I think I might try a few this year, now that you've brought the subject up! I'll follow Nutcutlet's advice and put them in a part of the garden with lots of home made compost, to retain moisture. Also, Obelixx's tip to soak them beforehand is something I won't ignore. She always sounds spot on
N Obelixx and Danae, thank you for your replies. I will follow your advice but also keep some in pots so that nothing too unpleasant happens!