Daffodils and tulips are symbols of spring and the sunny seasons to come. Through spring they put on a show with their vibrant, cheery flowers. But once flowering is done, there are a few things to bear in mind to make the most of the blooms the following year. Find out about cutting back and dividing daffodils and tulips.

When to do it?

Don’t be hasty and cut off the foliage as soon as the flowers die, because this can cost you next year’s blooms. Instead, trim off the flower stem when the flowers have faded.

If you don’t like the look of the fading foliage, they can be concealed with other plants. You can even loosely tie together any foliage using garden twine to keep it all together.


The foliage is used to help to replenish the store of nutrients in the bulb that is responsible for the energy to provide great flowers in the subsequent year. Even after the blooms have died, the foliage carries on absorbing nutrients for around 6 weeks.

Therefore, ensuring they still get sunshine, water, and a liquid feed is important. Only when the leaves have turned yellow and died back should the foliage be removed.

Dividing daffodil & tulip bulbs


Every few years daffodil bulbs should be divided because some clumps that have been in the same place for a few years can become congested and stop flowering. This is due to the lack of growing room and the competition for nutrients and moisture.

When the foliage turns yellow, the daffodil bulbs can be lifted for dividing. Bear in mind that bulbs usually end up getting themselves deeper into the ground than where they were originally planted. So, dig a small distance away from the plant so you don’t damage the bulbs.

Divide the bulbs by gently pulling the smaller bulbs from the main plant base. This is also a good time to check the health of the original bulb. Check how firm it is, if it seems healthy then it can be replanted.

However, if it seems damaged, diseased, or shrivelled then it can be discarded. Before planting or storing the bulbs, ensure the dead foliage is cut off.

With tulip bulbs the best time to divide them is as soon as the leaves have died.

Dig up the bulbs and break them apart, replanting at a depth of around 3 inches. To give them the room they need to grow, position them in clusters of 5-7 bulbs around 6 inches apart. If you are planting more than one cluster, space the other clusters 10 inches from the other.

Take care of your flowers, cutting back and dividing daffodils and tulips at the right time, so you continue to have a spring spectacle early in the year. The cheery flowers of these plants are sure to get you excited for the growing season ahead.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

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