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Daffodils: Growing and Maintenance

Updated on June 1, 2016


Daffodils come in so many varieties and are very distinctive. The color patterns, soft petals and trumpet shaped centers make them brighten any garden after the long winter months. With so many varieties to choose from, you are sure to have a smile every year when they charm you with their presence.

Being a perennial, Daffodils are known to spread and increase in number each year; thus, always gracing you with an abundance of color. In order to make a dramatic statement, it is best to plant them in random clusters throughout the garden. You will certainly appreciate the burst of color come spring.

When to plant

Plant daffodil bulbs in the early fall for showy blooms in the spring. Keep in mind that they prefer full sun to light shade. Full shade will stunt flowering and you will end up with a bunch of foliage instead (see the picture – not even one flower came to greet me!). They tend to do well in Zones 4-10.

How to plant

Plant bulbs randomly about 8 inches apart and about twice as deep as the bulb you are planting. Although they are a rather low maintenance plant, they will absolutely love you if you add a little compost to the soil in the fall. They prefer fertile soil; however, they will grow just about anywhere (I have some growing in the woods along the property). Once planted, provide them with an adequate amount of water. This will help get them settled.

If you find that your daffodils are not producing flowers any longer or have become rather crowded, think about dividing them and transplanting to another area of the garden. Rule of thumb is that daffodils need to be divided about every 2 to 3 years in order to prevent overcrowding. It is best to transplant in late spring to early summer after they bloom and the foliage has turned a yellow color.

Transplanting is an easy task. Just dig the bulb out of the ground and divide. Don’t worry about damaging the bulb – they are pretty hardy and can withstand some cutting. If you cannot replant them right away, consider storing them in a paper bag in a dark area until next fall.

Note: If your daffodils aren’t producing flowers, the cause could be that the soil is depleted of nutrients. An easy fix is to add a little compost to the soil – this will fix the problem and your daffodils will be so happy that they will provide you with an abundance of beautiful flowers from that point forward.

If you live in an apartment or a place where space is limited, do not fret. Daffodils can be grown in containers too. Just fill a container with dirt and set the bulbs close together with the tips of the bulb close to the top of the soil – then water. In no time you will have a lovely display of colorful flowers.


Like most flowers, daffodils are known to have a few pest. Some more common problems are bulb larvae, which may destroy the bulbs, bulb mites, slugs, snails and nematodes. If you see that the leaves of your plants are yellow, curling or bunched up, then they are sick. Remove them instantly so they do not spread the disease to the other bulbs.


  • Make a beautiful display as cut flowers and a statement in the garden. If picking for cut flowers, do not use a knife or clippers. Instead just pinch them at the base of the stem and place them in some water.
  • Do well in most climates – are cold and heat hardy
  • Remove spent foliage only after flowering; otherwise, you run the risk of the bulb not developing in order to provide you with a beautiful flower next year
  • Can be grown in containers
  • Do have little pest
  • Look beautiful when placed in unsystematic clumps
  • Zones 4 – 10
  • Low maintenance
  • Grow 1 to 2 feet tall
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Love fertile soil (but as I said before – they will grow just about anywhere – mine do)
  • Look great with violets

With so many varieties such as, Trumpet, Large-cupped, Small-cupped Poeticus and Doubled, just to name a few, you simply cannot go wrong by adding them to your garden. Pick a few that are different colors, add a little compost to the soil and water. Next year you will be so pleased – I promise!


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    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      It is wonderful to see the daffodils in blooming long before the other flowers wake up!