Monty Don shares 10-second task you need to do now to make your tulip ‘blooms last longer’

Monty Don has taken to his gardening blog this month to share many jobs that need doing in April, and one of them is tulip care.

No garden should be without the brightly-coloured spring flowers of tulips. They come in a wide range of colours – both bright and pastel – and flower forms and shapes. 

Tulips are generally pretty easy to look after. The bulbs can be left in the ground from year to year to develop into large, bold clumps. 

Or, they can be lifted if the ground is needed for other plants or if summer bedding plants will be grown there.

However, Monty claimed that there is one easy mistake that can jeopardise the bulbs, and that’s improper watering.

Tulip plant watering is all about minimalism. When gardeners plant their bulbs in autumn, they’re doing them a favour by forgetting about them. Tulips planted in the ground require very little water and can easily rot or sprout fungus if they’re left in standing water. 

Although, when it comes to watering tulip bulbs in pots, this is a little different. Plants in containers dry out much faster than those in the ground and need more frequent watering, and tulip plant watering is no different.

While gardeners may think that rainwater is enough to keep their tulips healthy, this is not the case.

Monty said: “Because they have been so passive for months and because April is traditionally so showery, it is easy to overlook the fact that tulips need water once they are growing strongly, so I water those growing pots weekly.”

Gardeners need to make sure their tulips don’t stand in water but still make sure the container drains well. 

If the top inch (around 2.5 cm) of soil in the container is dry, give it enough water to moisten it.

The gardening pro claimed that giving a sufficient amount of water to potted tulips will have a great effect on next year’s blooms. watering tulips doesn’t need to take long, it’s a 10-second task at most.

He said: “This will not affect flowering this year (although it might make the blooms last longer) but will help the foliage which in turn makes a big difference to next year’s bulbs.”

Many people decide to start their bulbs in a pot before transferring them to the ground after they bloom. However, those who live in a flat or don’t have access to a garden may not have any other choice but to keep their plants and flowers in pots. Thankfully, the bulbs will be just fine to stay in flower pots after they begin to bloom.

When they finish flowering, the bulbs start to build up their strength and produce their flower buds for the following year. This is the most important time of year and when the plants need some care and attention.

After flowering, deadhead tulips as soon as possible. You can either carefully pull or cut off the faded flower, plus the developing seed pod behind the flower, but leave the flower stems and leaves to die down naturally. 

Don’t be tempted to remove the foliage before it has turned yellow or brown, or tie it into neat knots, as the bulbs need the leaves to feed them.

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