Bulbs: Fertilizing

Fertilizing bulbsA light application of a balanced fertilizer may be cultivated into the soil around the plants following bloom but before the foliage has withered. In the spring as bulbs finish flowering, allow the foliage mature fully. Remove only the faded flowers. The remaining foliage will manufacture food for the bulb as they mature or "ripen." When the foliage is withered and yellowed it is an indication that the bulb is dormant and unable to utilize any supplemental nutrients.


High-nitrogen fertilizers are not recommended as they encourage lush foliage at the expense of flowers.

If flowering declines, check your cultural conditions. Bulbs grow best in sunny areas, but sunny sites can become shaded with the growth of trees as gardens mature.

Bulbs also should be watered throughout the year in periods of drought.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

Updated Thursday, February 18, 2016