Daffodils are a true bulb. I.e. flowers are formed along with all leaves etc. inside the dormant bulb during latish summer. They are then ready too emerge after autumn or winter rains.
Care should be taken here. Always watch out for soft bulbs as this is sign that they have collapsed and are no good for planting. Very good quality bulbs can be obtained from reputable growers
Daffodils like an open sunny position. A bed to themselves is the very best option. Some very strong and vigorous garden types will thrive amongst other plants given the right position. Your daffodils can be left for up to 5 years or so in the same place without disturbing and come up each spring to reward you with an abundance of blooms.
This is an important factor. Should your site not drain freely you can raise the bed a little, even 15cm will help greatly. Even though daffodils love moisture whilst growing, they do not like badly drained areas.
The site should be prepared several months ahead. After digging over a couple of times sandy soils should be enriched with humus and if available old and well decayed (almost soil) manures. Clay soils may need gypsum and compost to make them more friable. A little dolomite added to all soils will help also.
Daffodils like to be around 12 – 15cm deep. Now you have many choices of planting patterns – straight rows either across or lengthways, clumps, circles of colours to name some. Spacing of 12 – 15cm is also a good guide. Do not forget to put in a label beside those special favourites or named varieties.
Generally not a lot of cultivation is needed, keeping weeds at bay mainly. After flowering a good tip is to rake any old foliage around on the bed so as to fill in the holes they leave as the leaves die off. Doing this will deter insects, slugs or snails from getting down and doing damage to the dormant bulbs.
Provided you have enriched your soil during your initial bed preparation or have naturally fertile soil your daffodils will grow well. We give a general all-purpose fertilizer just after the peak flowering period and we make sure this is well watered in or there is enough natural rainfall occurring. The rate of fertilizer is around a reasonable handful to 1 metre of row as a guide.
Daffodils are almost drought proof. By growing through the late autumn, winter and early spring, then drying off as summer approaches and provided your beds or potting mix is moist at planting your daffodils will most likely not need watering again until poking through the soil. After this time, if you are not receiving regular rains, you will need to apply some water keeping them just moist at first and gradually increasing as the bulbs grow.
At bud stage your daffodils require quite a moist site. A very old adage says that if your daffodils are not receiving 25mls of rain a week at this stage you will need to apply this amount yourself for maximum results. After flowering let the soil gradually dry out.
Lifting of Bulbs
Never cut foliage off as this is importantly very much needed by the bulbs to regain size and strength for the next season Lifting is not recommended if your bulbs are flowering well and not severely overcrowded. If you have to lift, dig your bulbs carefully once all traces of green in the foliage has gone.
If you require any additional cultural advice please feel free to contact Ian and he will be happy to oblige.