UACES Facebook Daffodil

Daffodil

(January 2, 2016)

Question

I already have daffodil foliage coming up in my garden and I think it is a bit early.  Last year I had very few blooms.  Do daffodils eventually play out and stop flowering?  What is their life expectancy? Is there anything I can do to make them bloom again?

 

Answer

Early daffodils are up in many gardens.  Our milder weather has not slowed them down like last year.    There is no life-expectancy for daffodils, but if they get too crowded they won’t bloom as well and if they are growing in too much shade after bloom, they will not get enough energy to set flower buds.  If you want to make a difference for next year’s flowering, the time to divide them or move them to a sunnier location is immediately after flowering.  It is the 6-8 week period following bloom when spring flowering bulbs set their flowers for the following spring.  Digging, dividing and replanting in a sunny spot with a little fertilizer and water, and keeping the foliage healthy and green for at least 6-8 weeks should result in showy blooms next spring.  


 

(April 2010)

QuestionNow that our daffodils have stopped flowering, can we cut them down or is it best to leave them  alone to dry up on their own?

 

AnswerDaffodils, as all spring bulbs, need a minimum of six weeks of foliage growth after blooming to generate energy for a flower next spring.  If you cut the leaves off right after flowering, you will get some leaves next year, but no blooms.  You can let the foliage die back on its own, but in a mild season, such as we had last year, you may still have daffodil foliage into July, and that isn’t really necessary.  An easy tip is to wait until the last spring bulb in your garden has finished blooming, then count out six weeks on your calendar and put a red X there.  When that date rolls around, you will know that every bulb in your garden has had at least six weeks of growth and they all can be cut back.


(Jan. 2010)

QuestionI live in Fayetteville on a road that is being widened by the city.  I had some bulbs along the driveway—including daffodils and hyacinths that I dug up this summer and stored in old pantyhose in a shed.  I was planning to plant them this fall but never got around to it.  Will they be ok to plant next fall if I leave them in the shed until then, or should I try to get them planted now?

 

AnswerPlant them as soon as the ground is workable. If you wait until next fall, chances are there won’t be any bulbs left to plant—they will have dried up.  Even though a shed or garage can protect bulbs from freezing, they should have been getting the needed chilling hours inside the shed.  Both daffodils and hyacinths need on average 10-16 weeks of temperatures below 45-50 degrees.  I know my attached garage has been colder than that these past few weeks.


(May 2006)

QuestionI'm afraid I've made an error and hope it's redeemable. Probably in mid-late February, before the last freezes, I dug up and separated 100-200 daffodil bulbs that I had planted for storage near my garden. They had been there for several years. Many of them had begun to grow above ground and after separating I stored them in boxes of saw dust for perhaps one or two weeks before planting them in new locations. I planted them in a good soil mix and fairly deep, probably 6"-10," most of the tops below ground level. I thought they would grow but so far very few tops have poked up. At this point I'll be happy if they don't rot in the ground and will come up next year. If, however, I've committed an egregious error and doomed these bulbs to decay then I'll just dig up some more and plant them in these holes at the proper time which I think you recently mentioned was fall.

 

AnswerI don't think you have lost them, but you did not want them to re-sprout this late in the season. I don't think you will have many blooms next spring, because I seriously doubt they had completed their life cycle for the year by mid to late February. In the future, if you have bulbs that need to be divided you have several options: one is to dig, divide and immediately replant, leaving the foliage in-tact - allowing it to die down naturally on its own. The second option is to wait until they have completed their six week process of growth after bloom, then dig, divide and either replant or store until fall. Spring bulbs have everything they need stored in the bulb. They go through a resting period following bloom until the following fall/early winter, when the roots begin to grow, and the stems elongate. After a chilling period they can stretch their stems, bloom and then replenish themselves in the 6-8 week period following bloom to start the cycle over again. For now, wait for next spring and see what you get.


(April 2005)

QuestionI have several questions in regarding trying to send daffodils to my sister in south central (zone 4) MN.  The daffodils have to be dug up in the next week or two because of a construction project. I'm not worried about the ones I'm going to replant, but my sister wants some also.   I will be seeing her in MN over Memorial Day week-end.  So "HELP”!!!  I don't mind planting the bulbs now and digging them up later.  Daffodils do not do very well in zone 4, but my sister loves them as much as I do and would love to try something new.

 

AnswerIf the plants have to be dug before they have had six weeks of foliage growth after bloom, they will need to be replanted intact, with their green foliage.  Then let the bulbs grow until the foliage dies back.   If it has been at least six weeks since they bloomed, or if you can wait that long before digging, you could dig up the bulbs and dry them.  For your garden, they could simply be replanted, if you know where you want them to grow, or you could store them for fall planting.  For your sister’s bulbs, once they have had the required growing time, lift and dry the bulbs.  Store the dried bulbs in a cool, dry place before transporting them to Minnesota.  I do not know when they plant up there, but the bulbs should be fine until planting time.   IF you lift them before they have had six weeks of after-bloom growth, you will still have live green growth, but they won't bloom next spring.


(February 2005)

QuestionIf you thin or transplant the bulbs of daffodils after the shoots have started showing, will they still bloom that season?

 

AnswerIf you can move them without much damage, they should still bloom, but sometimes it does shorten their bloom period. However, to be on the safe side, I would wait until immediately after bloom.  If you move them after bloom, be sure to leave the foliage in-tact for the requisite 6-8 weeks.


(March 2005)

QuestionThere is an un-irrigated area of my yard between the driveway and property line in which I would like to plant bulbs.  Will bulbs flourish with rain water only?  If so, which ones, and when should I plant them?

 

AnswerMost of the spring bulbs will do very well, since we get ample moisture during their growth period--winter through spring, and they prefer it to be dry during their dormant summer months.  Daffodils, tulips, crocus, and hyacinths should all do well, and are all best planted in the fall.

QuestionWe have a lot of daffodils at our back fence.  There are only a few that bloom.  Do you know why that is?  Are they planted too deep?

 

AnswerThe reason daffodils don't bloom is usually either too much shade, or they are too crowded together.  If either of the above situations is occurring, then you should solve the problem now--either dig and divide, or replant in a sunnier location.  After replanting, let the foliage die back on its own, and they should bloom for you next spring.


(April 2005)

QuestionI have several questions in regarding trying to send daffodils to my sister in south central (zone 4) MN.  The daffodils have to be dug up in the next week or two because of a construction project. I'm not worried about the ones I'm going to replant, but my sister wants some also.   I will be seeing her in MN over Memorial Day week-end.  So "HELP”!!!  I don't mind planting the bulbs now and digging them up later.  Daffodils do not do very well in zone 4, but my sister loves them as much as I do and would love to try something new.

 

AnswerIf the plants have to be dug before they have had six weeks of foliage growth after bloom, they will need to be replanted intact, with their green foliage.  Then let the bulbs grow until the foliage dies back.   If it has been at least six weeks since they bloomed, or if you can wait that long before digging, you could dig up the bulbs and dry them.  For your garden, they could simply be replanted, if you know where you want them to grow, or you could store them for fall planting.  For your sister’s bulbs, once they have had the required growing time, lift and dry the bulbs.  Store the dried bulbs in a cool, dry place before transporting them to Minnesota.  I do not know when they plant up there, but the bulbs should be fine until planting time.   IF you lift them before they have had six weeks of after-bloom growth, you will still have live green growth, but they won't bloom next spring.


(March 2006)

QuestionMy daffodils have become quite dense this year.  When is the best time to separate them?

 

AnswerIf they are so crowded that it is impacting the blooms, dig and divide them as soon as blooming is over.  You want to keep the foliage in-tact and try to keep it green and healthy for six to eight weeks.  The green growth period following bloom is when bulbs are replenishing the energy they need to set flowers for next season.  If you still have plenty of flowers, but they are just getting crowded, you can wait until the foliage dies down in late spring, dig them up and divide them, then either replant or store until fall planting.  Remember that when the foliage dies back the complete cycle for the bulb is complete—the flowers are set for next season.


(November 2005)

QuestionI live in south eastern Arkansas. I just bought 70 daffodil bulbs.  Could you give me some tips on planting them?

 

AnswerThis is an ideal time to plant spring bulbs.  Make sure the site has good drainage.  Plant the daffodil bulbs two to three times the size of the bulb deep in the ground.  No fertilization is needed at planting, since the bulbs contain everything they need to grow and bloom next spring.  Some people like to add bone meal at planting to aid in rooting, but it isn't a necessity.  Group your daffodil bulbs together to make a strong impact next spring.  A block of color makes a greater statement than a long row of color.  I find it easier to till up an area and mass plant versus digging a hole for each individual bulb. Daffodils are one of the toughest of the bulbs, and rarely need much care.  Make sure they do receive some sunlight in the six week period following bloom, and consider fertilizing them when you see the flower stalk emerging next spring.  A general complete fertilizer such as 13-13-13 would work fine.


 

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