Daffodils (Narcissus) are the yellow-blooming beauties of spring that will add a bright spot to any home garden.
Daffodils are easy to plant, require no maintenance, fragrant, multiply on their own, return year after year and deer won’t eat the bitter-tasting plant.
This yellow spring beauty has no downside and is always a welcome sight as one of the first signs of spring’s arrival.
Use our expert guidelines for planting and growing daffodils in your garden so you can enjoy their fragrant yellow blooms next spring!
Select a Sunny Location
These flowers are sun-lovers and will always turn their floral heads towards the sun, so pick a full-sun planting location for best results. Daffodil bulbs will survive indefinitely, spread and produce blooms when they are planted in a sunny location.
Daffodils can often be seen blooming along roadsides or in open fields where there’s no visible structure because the flower bulbs were planted decades ago and outlived the people that planted them and structures they graced. This easy-care plant is hardiest in USDA growing zones 4-6, but will grow all the way up zone 10. The colder the winter, the later in spring the plant will bloom.
Plant bulbs in the early fall before the soil freezes. This will give the bulb a chance to acclimate to its new home and store energy for the spring blooming season.
Dig a planting hole that is twice as deep as the bulb is tall. For example, a typical bulb is approximately 2 inches tall and should be planted in a 6 inch deep hole. If the bulb is planted a little on the shallow side its strong roots will gradually pull it downwards until it reaches the correct depth.
The deep planting of the bulbs is one reason that keeps the flower coming back year after year. The depth protects the bulbs from whatever goes on above it at soil level and also provides a thick layer of insulation that keeps the flower bulb from being pushed (heaved) out of the soil during alternating periods of freezes and thaws.
Plant daffodil bulbs with the pointed end facing up and the fatter, flat end facing down.
Wire and Mulch
Deer won’t eat daffodils and the entire plant is poisonous to cats, but squirrels find the bulbs to be a tasty and harmless treat. Chicken wire and crunchy mulch will help keep the daffodils and the wildlife safe.
After planting the bulbs, place a length of chicken wire on top of the soil to prevent squirrels from digging up the newly planted bulbss. Hide chicken wire with crunchy mulch, like tree bark, to deter cats from walking in the garden and potentially ingesting some of the plant and developing nausea, vomiting or worse.
There are several different types of daffodils and for aesthetic reasons, you don’t want to mix them within each planting group. Plant a grouping of 10 or more of the same cultivar within your garden for the best visual impact. Plant the bulbs in short, staggered rows or in a circle with 7 bulbs around the perimeter and 3 in the middle.
The blooms will last approximately 1 month and make nice cut flowers, but the blooms will be short-lived after cutting.
Bulb Multiplication and Transplanting
Daffodil bulbs will multiply (naturalize) without any human assistance if they’re happy in their planting location. Daffodils propagation process is slow and will take several years for a garden space to fill in.Wait until the end of the growing season to transplant.
Allow the foliage to turn brown, but not completely wither away so the bulbs can easily be located.
Use a sharp shovel to dig 6 inches away from plant on all sides. Dig down at least 1 foot under the plant and lift the entire clump of bulbs out of the soil. Gently separate the bulb clumps by twisting and pulling them apart with your fingers. Keep as many of the divided bulbs (also known as offsets) as you want to replant.
Discard bulbs that are damaged, mushy or show any signs of rot. Small bulbs may take 2 years to bloom after being transplanted. Replant bulbs immediately according to above mentioned planting instructions.
Don’t remove old flowers after they are done blooming and don’t cut down foliage. As the plant withers away it’s providing food and energy for the underground bulb.
No need to water or apply fertilize since the plant supplies its own food, but a light application of bone meal at the end of the blooming season gives the plant a boost of energy for next season.
More Garden Room
Because daffodils are planted so deeply and have a short bloom season, annuals can be planted on top of them in the same garden space. Twice the flower blooms in the same space. Just another reason to plant and grow daffodils in your garden, and these guideline will make it easy.