‘Do not cut the stem!’: Monty Don shares ‘the best way’ to deadhead tulips this spring


Monty Don known for presenting Gardeners’ World since 2003, has shared a plethora of gardening advice throughout his career. Each month the expert shares blog posts of jobs to do in the garden, including how deadhead tulips in April. Deadheading plants is one way to boost the performance of plants, encourage the growth of more flowers and enjoy flowers for longer. For those who don’t deadhead their tulip plants, Monty explained why gardeners must and how to do it.

Spring wouldn’t be the same without tulips.

The beautiful flowers of these showy bulbs come in almost every colour imaginable, from pale pastels to hot, vibrant shades. 

They are perfect for adding colour to borders in April and May and grow very well in pots.

The 66-year-old shared that now is the time to deadhead any tulips gardeners have growing in borders.

READ MORE: Gardening: How to grow ’tastier’ tomatoes in your garden – ‘important’

“Do not cut back the stem or any of the foliage as this will all contribute to the growing bulbs as they slowly die back.”

When first planted, tulip bulbs need to be well-watered and kept in a sheltered spot.

For some gardeners that may be putting them near a fence or a house wall.

However, Monty explained that he kept his inside a shed over the winter period to stop them becoming “saturated” with water.

He said: “I have been keeping them under cover all winter because I’ve learnt the hard way.

“If I leave them outside all winter and it’s really wet, the pots get saturated.

“That’s bad for the tulip bulbs because tulips like really good drainage.

“And also bad for the pot because you get the compost saturated with water, and then if it freezes hard, it expands and that’s what breaks the pots.

“So I keep them under the cover.”

Tulip bulbs can also be kept in unheated greenhouses over the winter period.

Sodden containers of tulip bulbs should be moved as soon as possible and allowed to dry out.

They can be returned to their original position later on once the compost has dried out.

Monty explained that as soon as tulip bulbs start to show new growth, they should be put outside.

He said: “As soon as I start to see the new growth, bring them outside, they can get light, they can get whatever rain we have, and we should be seeing the first tulip flowering here in about a month’s time.”

When the weather is dry, tulips need to be kept well-watered.

A lack of water can actually impact their development and could lead to a shorter flowering period.


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