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Caring for Daffodils After Flowering

It’s important not to touch your daffodils while there is still green foliage above the ground.

I simply love daffodils and eagerly wait for them in winter to send up foliage from the bulbs that are sitting in the ground or in the soil in a pot.

Then, I inspect them regularly as we head towards spring to see the first flower stalks start to emerge from the base of the foliage.

Their happy and vibrant flowers start to open in late winter to early spring and to me, they always signal the end of winter. 

If you love growing daffodils as much as I do, you might be wondering what to do with them after they’ve finished flowering. Here are some tips based on what I do and what some other experts suggest.

Leave your daffodils alone after they’ve finished blooming

It’s important not to touch your daffodils while there is still green foliage above the ground. This foliage is helping to store nutrients in the bulbs which will result in the following year’s blooms.

daffodils after flowering | Plant care

This is a vitally important step to ensure that you get plenty of flowers the following season.

However, it’s perfectly fine to prune off the spent flower stalks.

At a minimum, you want to leave them alone for at least 8 weeks or longer. Personally, I leave my daffodils in the ground year-round and they continue to come up year after year.

Rejuvenating your daffodils every four or five years

You’ll find that after around four or five years, your bulbs will start to get a bit crowded and you might not get as many flowers as you used.

This is the time to lift them out of the ground and divide them up.

Once again, you want to wait until all the foliage has died down before digging up your daffodil bulbs. 

Daffodil Bulbs | Plant care

To lift your bulbs, use a garden fork to gently dig them out of the soil. Take care not to damage the bulbs when you do this.

Then, shake off the soil and divide them up into individual bulbs. Place these in a paper bag and store them in a cool spot, like in your garage or garden shed over summer.

Daffodil bulbs 2 | Plant care

You can also store your daffodil bulbs in a mesh bag like those that onions or oranges come in. If you do this, you can just hang the bags in your garage.

Alternatively, you can store your bulbs in a cupboard in the laundry or even in the bottom of your pantry.

It’s not necessary to pre-chill your daffodil bulbs in the fridge if you plant them in autumn as they’ll chill in the ground over winter.

Replant your stored bulbs in autumn

Once autumn comes around, you can replant your daffodil bulbs in the garden. Remember that they need the chill period during winter in order to flower well.

Daffodil bulb planting 2 | Plant care

FAQ

Can I leave daffodil bulbs in the ground?

Yes, you can leave daffodil bulbs in the ground. But, they should be lifted every four or five years so that you can divide them up and replant them in autumn.

Do daffodils come back every year?

Yes, daffodils will die down over summer and will be dormant during winter after all the foliage has died down. Then, in late winter, your bulbs will spring back to life and send up new shoots and you’ll have flowers in early spring.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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