Growing Daffodils

Growing daffodils is the perfect way to get a jump on spring. These early blooming flowers come in a wide range of warm colors from white through yellow into peach and orange. Daffodils are great naturalizers, which means the plants you put in the ground will multiply and bloom year after year.

Simple Tips For Growing Daffodils

  • What to plant and when to plant it. Daffodils are grown from bulbs that are planted in mid fall, after the ground begins to cool. Daffodil bulb retailers begin advertising their stock in late spring, but typically don't begin shipping until the early fall. Bulbs that arrive early should be stored in a cool, dry place until ready to plant.
  • Proper placement. Position your daffodils in a sunny location, since daffodils bloom when the sun is just starting to warm up. Avoid planting your daffodils in low spots, as proper drainage is crucial. Raised beds and hillside locations offer the best drainage, particularly in poor soil.
  • Digging holes. To plant your daffodil bulbs, loosen the soil 12 inches deep. Heavy soils should be amended with compost or planting mix. The planting hole should be wider than the bulb and three times as deep as the height of the bulb. For example, a 3 inch bulb would require a 9 inch hole. Bulbs should be planted slightly deeper in sandy soil, slightly shallower in clay soils.
  • Bulb positioning. Your daffodil bulbs should be planted with the pointed end facing up. Cover planted bulbs with soil, gently firming the soil back into place.
  • Watering needs. Daffodil bulbs need plenty of water as they grow. After planting, keep the ground damp until the first rain. After that, make sure your bulbs get at least 1 inch of water per week. Continue watering for at least three weeks after your daffodils bloom, then stop watering completely.
  • Look for the yellow. Resist the urge to cut back your daffodil's foliage until it has begun to wither and turn yellow. After blooming, the plant uses the foliage to gather energy for next year's growth. Cutting back the foliage too soon will inhibit future growth.
  • Divide and prosper. About every four years, you'll need to divide your daffodil bulbs as they begin to crowd each other out. In the early summer, dig up your daffodil bulbs with garden fork. After removing excess dirt and giving the bulbs a few days to dry in a shady place, pull the bulb clumps apart into individual bulbs. Store the bulbs in a cool dry place and replant them in the fall.
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