Hiding Spent Foliage

Hiding Spent Foliage

I like daffodils and tulips, but you know their foliage just isn’t much to get excited about. Once the flowers are done we all know the best thing to do is to cut back the flower stems to prevent them from going to seed (unless you are hybridizing or want to collect the seed) and leave the foliage to absorb the suns rays. So what do you do with that mess of foliage? Can you stand it? Often gardeners get tired of looking at it and cut the foliage back while risking reduced vigor the following year in the process. I prefer to think about plants that help to hide or disguise the unsightly foliage.

In this picture you can see the daffodils I have in my front garden. To hide the daffodil foliage, or disguise them rather, I have a couple other perennials that will come to the forefront. In May the bed becomes filled with the purple flowers of salvia and the yellow blooms of daylilies. My tulips, which are in the sidewalk garden, don’t have much to disguise their foliage but I leave the leaves to die back on their own anyway. I’ve been able to maintain a reliable display of tulips this way. Last year I planted lantana among them but it won’t return here – at least not without help from the gardener. 

What perennials do you think make a good sequential planting for bulb flowers to help hide the foliage?


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Good posting Dave. I have to smack my fingers every summer to keep from cutting them off. LOL! Although last year the deer did the job for me.Planting perennials that come up after they bloom is a good way to hide the foliage until it dies back.

  2. I have a lot of daffodills planted with lily of the valley. There is a small transition period but the lily leaves come in to hide the daffy leaves pretty quick plus they smell nice so I forget about the old daffy leaves.

  3. You are right Dave, this is a problem every year. However, I learned later in life your solution. I do daylilies, ferns, lirope grass, smaller grrasses, phlox, coneflowers, huechera villosa, larger hosta, Becky Shasta Daisy, large sedums, etc. There probably are a lot more that I can't think of right now.


  4. That is a lot to think about. I have some iris where my Daffodils are. There are some Snowflakes, canna, glads, lilies. I'm thinking about putting a gardenia {kept trimmed} in front of Flag Pole Garden so I will get bloom & fragrance. Anything can change.

  5. Perennials: The New York Botanical Garden set the standard with the Daylily/Daffodil Walk. I was surprised how far apart they were planted. Iberis is fair as a companion. Lantana works, here.

    I'm happy where annual larkspur and poppies are coming along to hide the daffodil foliage.

    Best of all is where there is room for the foliage just to ripen without being hidden, in the upper garden. Other beauties like azaleas nearby call attention away from the daffodil uglies.

  6. There's always that awkward bit of time between the daffs disappearing and the next flower showing up…But here there's Lunaria, Phlox pilosa, penstemons and daylilies to disguise the foliage…Daffs planted in the grass just get to be ugly for a while. gail

  7. Ellen your comment was fine but the link you left was kind of spammy. It really doesn't related to the post. I've deleted the comment but posted it below without the link.

    Ellen's Comment:
    Although last year the deer did the job for me.Planting perennials that come up after they bloom is a good way to hide the foliage until it dies back.

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