How to plant Daffodils

These are a hardy perennial that if planted correctly should come back year after year. They are a wonderful addition to any spring garden and add a beautiful yellow colour that brightens up any spot they are placed in. They make wonderful cut flowers too, so they can brighten up both the inside and the outside of your home!

When to plant
Daffodil bulbs are usually sown from September to November, but a good rule of thumb is to just have them planted two to four weeks before the first frost sets in.

Daffodils are a wonderful addition to any gardenParaic Horkan
Where to plant
Daffodils do best when planted in areas that get a lot of sunshine, preferably all day long, but definitely not anywhere that gets less than 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. It is not recommended to plant them in shaded areas as they will not flower well.  As with most bulbs, well drained soil is best, so avoid areas of the garden that are prone to flooding.

How to plant daffodil bulbs

  • Dig a hole roughly three times as deep as the bulb is tall (so larger bulbs will be deeper than smaller bulbs)
  • Loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole (this will allow the roots to establish)
  • Place the bulb in the bottom of the hole in the upright position (the pointy end upwards, fatter end at the bottom)
  • Place the soil back in the hole
  • Firm down gently
  • Water well (unless heavy rain is expected)
  • Plant other daffodil bulbs 6 inches apart

Tips for planting in a container or pot

  • Use an 8 litre container for standard sized bulbs or a 4 litre container for miniature or small bulbs
  • Use containers that have good drainage as you do not want your bulbs to sit in water
  • Use a mix of 1 part perlite to 3 parts compost
  • Plant the bulbs about 1/3 of the way down the container (too near the top and the roots will push the bulbs out of the soil)
  • Water well when first planted, the soil should be almost saturated
  • After blooming add a pinch of fertiliser to the pot (this will also help with next year’s bloom)

Planting tips:

  • Choose larger, fat bulbs as these tend to produce the best flowers. Smaller bulbs may not flower in their first year.
  • Avoid buying soft bulbs or bulbs that have any sign of mould.
  • Planting in groups of 10 or more gives the best results. A general method is a circle of 6-7 with three in a triangle in the centre of the circle.
  • Generally people tend to plant one type of daffodil per grouping as this is the most aesthetically pleasing.
Tips to improve flowers in the second year

  • Planting in a sunny area is the best way for your bulb to get the energy it will need for next year’s bloom. If it is in an area where it does not get much sunlight, it wont be able to store the energy it needs for a bloom the following year.
  • Don’t cut back the foliage too early, try to wait until it’s brown and dry. These leaves are providing the bulb with energy to fuel next year’s blooms. If you cut back the foliage too early then your bulbs wont have enough energy stored for a successful bloom next year.
  • Pinch off any seed heads that you see. After the flowers die, seeds will begin to form. this is taking energy away from the bulb. If you pinch of the seed heads then the bulbs can retain more energy which equals better blooms next year!
  • Fertilise or top dress with a little compost

Although daffodils are a wonderful flower for cutting, you should keep the flowers in their own vase. The daffodil stems secrete a fluid which promotes the wilting of other flowers. So while they may look pretty mixed in with other flowers you will increase the length of time you can keep them by keeping them separate.

Try to leave the stems and leaves uncut for as long as possible as this is feeding next years bloomsParaic Horkan
daffodil stems


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