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How to plant daffodil bulbs

All you need to know about growing Narcissus flowers

The appearance of daffodils marks the arrival of spring – a season of new beginnings and warmer weather. Scientifically known as Narcissus, these cheerful flowers can fill your outdoor space with fresh colours and much-needed joy after a long and frosty winter. Plant some daffodil bulbs in your beds, borders and containers for a flurry of yellow come spring. Need some guidance? Carry on reading to discover how to grow daffodils in your own garden. Let’s get started!

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When to plant daffodil bulbs

For vibrant blooms in spring, the best time to plant daffodils is in early autumn, ideally in September or October. However, you can still plant them in November to enjoy their colourful display when spring arrives. Bear in mind, daffodils grow best when they’re planted before the ground becomes excessively frosty.

Where to plant daffodils

Daffodils thrive in well-drained soil and prefer full or partial sun for optimal growth. One of the great advantages of daffodils is their low maintenance nature, as they can flourish in various soil types. You can plant them in containers, borders, or beds, depending on your preference. However, it is important to avoid planting daffodil bulbs in waterlogged soil or areas that are in full shade throughout the day. While daffodils can tolerate light shade, they do prefer full sun whenever possible. This ensures they receive the maximum amount of sunlight for their growth potential.

Choosing daffodil bulbs

When buying your daffodil bulbs, we recommend choosing large bulbs. Make sure you give them a squeeze to check that they’re firm and inspect them all over for any signs of mould.

Step 1

Using a hand trowel or bulb planter, dig down into the soil to the appropriate depth and create a hole that is wide enough to easily accommodate the bulb. Most daffodil bulbs should be planted about 10cm deep, approximately twice the size of the bulb itself (specific instructions may vary depending on the variety).

When planting daffodils in beds, leave around 15cm of space between each bulb. This allows the bulbs to have enough room to grow and develop without becoming overcrowded.

When planting daffodils in containers, you have the flexibility to cluster them a little closer together. Closer spacing in containers can result in a fuller and more impactful display. However, ensure that the bulbs still have some space to grow and are not too tightly packed.

Step 2

Improve drainage and enhance air circulation by adding a small handful of horticultural sand or grit into the planting hole. This will help to promote optimal growth conditions for the Narcissus bulb.

Step 3

Carefully place the bulb into the hole, being mindful to position any pointed ends or buds facing upwards towards the sky. This ensures that the daffodil will grow in the intended direction.

Step 4

While filling the hole with soil, break up any large clumps and gently firm the soil to provide stability and support for the bulb. This step is crucial in cultivating healthy daffodils that will flourish in your garden. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to creating a breath-taking display of vibrant yellow Narcissus flowers in your garden. Happy planting!

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How deep to plant daffodil bulbs?

The general rule when planting daffodil bulbs is to set them at a depth of around 10cm, which is about twice the size of the bulb (these instructions may differ depending on the variety of daffodil). Following this guideline will ensure that the bulb has sufficient soil coverage and support to thrive and bloom beautifully in the spring.

How many daffodil bulbs should I plant together?

If you’re planting daffodil bulbs in open ground, you can plant up to six bulbs together. We don’t suggest exceeding this number, as planting more than this may cause the bulbs to become overcrowded, affecting their growth and overall display.

If you're planting daffodils in pots or containers, you have a lot more flexibility. You can cluster together as many bulbs as you like. This allows for a more dramatic and impactful look.

Daffodils planted in containers can bloom for about three consecutive years. However, we recommend giving bulbs a break after a season and transfer them back to the ground. This allows the bulbs to rejuvenate and replenish their energy.

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How to care for daffodils

To ensure the health and vitality of your blooms, follow these daffodil care tips:

Fertilize potted daffodils:

Apply a slow-release bulb fertilizer to your potted daffodils each spring. This will provide them with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant flowers.

Deadheading daffodils:

After the daffodils have finished flowering, remove the faded blooms by deadheading the plants. However, it is important to leave the foliage to die down naturally. This allows the nutrients in the leaves to be returned to the bulb, which improves their potential for flowering the following year.

Avoid mowing:

If you're growing daffodils in a grassy area, it's important to note that cutting the grass too early could harm your flowers. To ensure optimal growth, avoid cutting the grass until June.