Can I Plant Potted Forced Bulbs After They Finish Blooming?

Can I Plant Potted Forced Bulbs After They Finish Blooming?

Buying potted, forced bulbs in the early spring is a great way to reconnect with nature: we celebrate the return of bright colors and flowers to the landscape and rejoice at the start of the growing season. After those bulbs finish flowering many wonder if it’s possible to place the plants in the soil so they will bloom next year. The short answer is yes, but some of these bulbs will return better than others. Here are some tips for success:

  • After flowering finishes put these bulbs outside if they have been indoors. Do not cut off the old stems or leaves, but make plans to place them in the ground as soon as possible.
  • When planting, bury the bulbs 3 to 4″ deep. This might be deeper than they were planted in the pot, but don’t worry about burying the bottom part of the stems.
  • When it comes to coming back for at least four years, the best bulbs are daffodils, hyacinths, muscari and lilies. Tulips are the least reliable, so don’t plant them in the most prominent part of your yard. Tulips often send up foliage in the second and third years, but they might not flower.
  • After planting your bulbs in the ground, water them well and then give them an application of a liquid fertilizer, mixed according to directions and pouring it all around the plant.

All daffodils and hyacinths are good about returning for several years. Plant these in the ground after their flowers fade. Leave old stems and leaves in place until they turn yellow on their own.

Lilies will return in your garden and they will often multiply as well. Plant lilies where they will be getting at least 6 hours of dead-on sun.

Tulips are the least reliable about blooming in subsequent years. They are worth enjoying as “one shot wonders” however, because they are indeed wonderful!

And speaking of forced plants that people buy around Easter, many also wonder about planting their gift hydrangeas. See our previous post about these plants.

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