Monty Don has the perfect tip for tidying up spring bulbs that have finished flowering

Are your daffodils looking a bit scruffy now they've finished flowering? Monty Don has a genius idea for what to do with them

A spring container display with daffodils in small garden
(Image credit: NAPA74 / Getty)

Monty Don has a genius tip for your spring bulbs once they've finished flowering. If you have daffodils, tulips, and other spring bulbs in your borders, you will know that there comes an awkward time when their flowers have withered but the plants haven't yet completely died back. The result is a garden border that looks less than fresh.

Fortunately, there's a way around this problem. Now you don't have to sacrifice your spring garden to wilted daffodils. And while you may be tempted to reach for your best secateurs first off... Here's what the gardening guru Monty Don recommends you do instead. 

Monty Don: Why you shouldn't cut back your spring bulbs

Tulip bulbs in spring, tulips in a garden

(Image credit: PaulMaguire / Getty)

But first, a note on what not to do in an attempt to tidy up your spring garden. Do not trim the bulbs that have finished flowering. Note that. on his blog, Monty is very clear in his instructions: he writes that 'you should resist any temptation to cut back, tie up or '‘tidy up’' the foliage of any bulbs that have finished flowering as this will decrease the quality of flowering next spring.'

So, cutting back the stems is out of the question. Of course, if you have densely planted garden borders with lots of evergreens you may be able to just leave your spring bulbs alone – the foliage may well conceal the unsightly brown stems and flowers. However, if your planting isn't that dense and you're not enjoying how your garden is looking, there is a way to remedy the situation, 

Monty Don's top tip for tidying up spring bulbs

Daffodils being potted up in a garden

(Image credit: Leonsbox / Getty)

What you can do, according to Monty, is 'lift the bulbs, foliage, bulb and roots and pot them into a container which can then be put to one (sunny) side to die back and feed next year’s bulb without leaving an unsightly mass of dying foliage in a prime position for the next few months.'

Will this method harm the bulbs? Not in the slightest. 'When the foliage has died back the bulbs can be stored in the pot.' You do need to make sure 'they do not become too wet'; in fact, Monty reassures gardeners that the bulbs 'can dry out completely'. You'll just need to remember to replant them back into your borders in autumn.  

Remember: spring bulbs, including daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, are tough and can be dug up and replanted multiple times without any issues. You do need to do the planting and digging up at the correct times of year, but apart from that, don't be afraid to move your bulbs into your container garden for the summer. 

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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