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Understanding Timing for Daffodil Bulb Planting in Australia

It’s a good idea to place daffodil bulbs in the crisper of your fridge for around six weeks before planting them out.

I love growing daffodils in my garden and eagerly look forward to the growth breaking through the soil in winter.

It’s currently June here and some bulbs that I have planted in a pot are already producing some green growth.

Daffodil bulbs 1 | Plant care

It might take another month for the bulbs that I have in the ground to start putting on growth. Then, it’s just a case of waiting until late winter or early spring for the gorgeous blooms to show their happy faces. 

If you plan to plant some new bulbs in your garden or in some fancy pots, you’ll want to know the ideal time for planting them.

When to plant daffodil bulbs in cooler regions 

If you live in the southern part of the country where the winters are cold, plant your daffodil bulbs in April.

This gives the bulbs enough time during winter to establish themselves so that they’re ready to bloom in late winter or early spring.

Daffodils | Plant care

When to plant daffodil bulbs in warmer regions

If you live in a warmer region, you can plant your daffodil bulbs as late as May. It is wise to give your bulbs some chill time in the fridge before planting.

However, check whether the bulbs that you buy have been pre-chilled because this is common practice for commercial growers.

But if you’ve been given some bulbs by a friend or family member, it’s a good idea to place them in the crisper of your fridge for around six weeks before planting them out.

You should plan to do this at the very beginning of April. Traditionally, April Fool’s Day is the day that many avid growers will put their daffodil bulbs in the fridge.

Do daffodil bulbs need to be lifted or dug up from year to year?

Here in Victoria, I leave my daffodil bulbs in the ground all year round to do their thing. Every few years, I’ll dig them up purely to divide them so that they don’t get too overcrowded.

However, in warmer regions, it is a good idea to lift your daffodil bulbs after flowering so that you can give them some chill time in the fridge before replanting them.

How do you lift your daffodil bulbs?

Once your daffodils have passed their growing time and the foliage is dying down, you can gently dig up your bulbs. Make sure that you wait until the foliage has died down because this is needed by the plant to produce food to store in the bulb.

Place the dug-out bulbs in a cool and dry spot to allow the foliage to dry out completely. When the foliage is totally dry, cut it off and store the clean bulbs in a paper bag or similar. 

Daffodil bulbs 2 | Plant care

Don’t use a plastic bag to store your bulbs because this can accumulate moisture which will rot the bulbs. It’s better to use a paper bag or a mesh bag like those you get when buying onions or oranges.

Around the first of April, place the bulbs in their bag in the crisper section of your fridge for around six weeks to give them the required chill time. This is important if you want gorgeous flowers in the spring.

How to plant your daffodil bulbs

Planting your bulbs is fairly easy, especially if you have a bulb planter. Or, you can just use a small hand trowel. 

Daffodil Bulb planting | Plant care

Choose a spot that gets morning sun and preferably, some afternoon shade. This is particularly important if you experience long, hot summers. 

If the bulb is left in the ground over summer after it has finished growing, and gets too warm, it may die. This is why it’s a good idea to dig up your bulbs if you live in a warm area.

An alternative is to plant your bulbs under a deciduous tree. This allows the growing bulbs to receive sunshine in winter and early spring but receive protection during summer.

When planting the bulbs, dig the holes so that they are 2 to 3 times deeper than the height of the bulb. Make sure that you position the bulbs in the holes so that the pointy end is facing upward.

Daffodil bulb planting 2 | Plant care

FAQ

What is the best fertiliser for daffodils?

Use a fertliser that has a good amount of phosphorus and potassium as this will aid in flower formation. Feed your bulbs as soon as the flowers have finished. You can use any fertiliser that is formulated for other flowering plants like camellias or azaleas.

Do daffodil bulbs multiply over time?

Daffodil bulbs do multiply over time. That’s why you might want to dig them up every few years to divide them.

What is the latest date to plant daffodils?

In the cooler areas of the country, you should plant your daffodils by the end of April to give the bulbs plenty of chill time in the soil. However, in warmer regions, you can plant as late as May.

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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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