Why Don't Spring Bulbs Flower

It's very disappointing after all the hard work in the autumn of planting bulbs only to find they fail to flower the next year. There can be different reasons for different types of bulbs and here are some tips to make sure the spring bulbs flower next year.

No flowers on daffodils - Blind daffodils

No flowers on daffodils - Blind daffodils

If daffodils come into leaf but produce no flowers they are known as blind daffodils the causes are:

  • Planting too shallow is a most common cause it is essential that bulbs are planted at least twice or three times their height into the soil. This is the most common cause of daffodils not flowering. Mark the daffodils and then when flowering is over, dig up the bulbs and replant to the correct depth.
  • Very dry soil can cause blindness and its a good idea if planting into dry soil to plant deep a minimum of three times the bulb height
  • Planting too late daffodils need to be in the soil and planted by mid-September
  • Mature clumps of daffodils can get over crowded in which case lift and divide and replant
  • Defoliation and knotting let the foliage die down naturally for at least 6 weeks post flowering 
  • If all else fails, apply a feed.

No flowers on Tulips

It isn't that easy to get Tulips to flower year after year and in this respect they are different to daffodils. Many Tulips will have to be treated as annuals but here are some tips to get Tulips to flower.

  • Planting too shallow and this is very relevant to Tulips which are more likely to come back the following year if planted more deeply hence they are not ideal to be left in containers year after year unless a deep container.
  • Planted too early Tulips may succumb to disease and should not be planted until late October early November
  • Type fo Tulip the Darwin Hybrids are more likely to return than say the Parrots varieties
  • Mice and squirrels love them 
  • Tulips come from the part of the world with hot dry summers and cold winters under which conditions they return reliably year after year but those conditions are not prevalent in the UK hence it simply isn't easy to get Tulips to flower year after year
  • Plant in an area of good drainage and after flowering take of the flower head and allow the foliage to die back naturally.

For most other bulbs, such as Crocus, Hyacinth failure to appear at all will be caused by preditors such as mice and squirrels and failure to flower is most likely to be planting depth, often planted too shallow. Advice on how to plant spring bulbs