How to Grow and Plant Daffodils

We may think of Daffodils as large yellow trumpets of colour, but there are so many more daffodils to choose from. There are now around 13,000+ varieties in existence. Above are three quite different daffodils, the N. cyclamineus is even smaller than tete a tete.

Some of the most rewarding Daffodils are the scented varieties such as Narcissus 'Bridal Crown', Narcissus 'Geranium' and a long-standing popular variety Narcissus 'Cheerfulness. This combines the lovely bright flowers with scent, ideal as a cut flower.

Once you have selected your daffodils, the most important thing is to plant them correctly.

How to Plant Narcissus common name Daffodil

 The key to make sure your daffodils flower, is to plant them at the correct depth.

A common question is why don't spring bulbs  flower?

Whilst there can be several reasons why Daffodils do not flower, the most common reason is that they have been planted too shallow. This is why, when planting Daffodils, it is important to get the depth right from the start.

mixed bulbs

  Bulbs come in all sizes, from tiny snowdrop bulbs to the large Alliums. 

Planting too shallow can cause bulbs, particularly Daffodils, to come up" blind" which means without flowers. A good rule of thumb when planting bulbs is always to plant them at least 3x the depth of the bulb. Looking at the bulbs in the image, the large white ones are Hyacinth and all the round ones are Daffodils.

It is clear from this that Hyacinths will need to be planted deeper than Daffodil bulbs, and the smaller Daffodils bulbs, such as Tete at Tete, not so deep. If you are planting a few, it is handy to measure on a bamboo cane the 3x depth, and then each time you dig a hole put the cane in to check the depth and then plant. 

Remember if you are planting in containers, to plant to the correct depth and for the first year it is not necessary to use fresh compost. You can use old compost for the first year of planting- more information about this.

 I just love scented daffodils. They look great in the border and excellent cut flowers. Crocus has a wide selected of daffodils, including over 40 varieties of scented daffodils. The multi headed varieties provide many flowers and scent from just the one bulb.

Check out the Crocus collection of daffodils, many at bargain prices.

What to do with daffodils after flowering

Fading daffodils

How you treat Daffodils after flowering is important for next year's flowers.

It is safe to dead head Daffodils, taking the top, just removing the spent flower and no more. It is important not to tie up or restrict the fading leaves, which will increase the risk of the Daffodils coming up blind next year. The leaves help to provide food to the bulb for next year. 

When Daffodils are grown in a lawn, it is  best avoid mowing for about 6 weeks. This is also the time to feed Daffodils, a balanced liquid feed every couple of weeks until the foliage has died down.

An Inspring Spring Combination

himalayan white birch with spring bulbs and blossom

This combination is the Himalayan white birch,Betula Utilis Jacquemontii, with spring blossom and underplanted with daffodils. It makes a beautiful display in a spring garden and this image was taken at an open NGS garden, Stoke Albany House

And now for something completely different, Sea Daffodils.

Sea daffodil

Often spotted growing in the dunes on beaches around the Mediterranean, Pancratium maritimum, the sea daffodil has lovely white flowers on a short stem. In its native habitat, it flowers from August to October and is  not related to the daffodil, although it is a bulb. In theory it is possible to grow in the UK, it is hardy down to -5,  but the sea daffodil does need a hot summer to induce flowering, markedly absent this year,( and others,) 2023. Without a good amount of sun flowering maybe disappointing. 

You are bound to find it on a beach if you holiday around the Med, along with Sea Holly and other natives.

Our native Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

  Our native Daffodil is Narcissus pseudonarcissus, which at one time grew freely in woodland but is now much less common. It is smaller, with pale leaves and a darker yellow trumpet. It can still be found growing in areas of South Devon, the Black Mountains in Wales, the Lake District in Cumbria, and along the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire borders. This image is of Daffodils in a woodland setting, possibly wild Daffodils growing in Letah Wood a rural ancient woodland through which Letah Burn runs, near Hexham in Northumberland.

Daffodils are labelled green wheelbarrow meaning they are easy to grow.

green wheelbarrow easy to grow