Daffodils: How to Encourage Next Year’s Blooms

Daffodils: How to Encourage Next Year’s Blooms

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In late winter, drifts of daffodils punctuate my property like streams of sunshine. They are a welcomed sight and a needed reminder that better weather is on the way (which is a good thing since that’s about the time I start to resemble Jack Nicholson in The Shining).

As flower bulbs go, they are pretty effortless and naturalize on their own accord, getting bigger and better every year. In my garden book, they are a fail-proof flower (or so I thought).

When I was taken to task by a friend who said her daffodils rarely rebloom, I realized some instructions were needed. So may I suggest my fail-proof designation does come with a few guidelines.

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How to ensure your Daffodils rebloom each year.

  1. Do not cut back the foliage or at least wait until it is completely brown and dry
    • The leaves create energy that is stored in the bulb to fuel next year’s blossoms. Remove them and you weaken the bulb and its ability to rebloom
  2. Pinch off the seed heads off
    • After the flower dies, seeds begin to form which requires energy from the bulb. If you remove the seedheads, more energy is stored in the bulb, which encourages bigger, better and usually more numerous flowers
  3. Fertilize or top dress with light compost for added oomph!

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So if you only follow one guideline, make it number one. In the photo above, I mowed around the daffodils, and will continue to do so until the leaves die back. My friend who had diminishing returns on her spring blooms, admitted to me she was mowing them down because she felt they were unsightly post bloom.  I told her patience will pay off if she can just wait several weeks for the foliage to fuel the bulb before dying back into summer dormancy.

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Pinching seedheads does help, but letting your bulbs recharge by leaving the leafs intact in the best advice I could give to encourage next spring’s flowers. This is applicable for most spring bloomers, like daffodils, narcissus, bluebells and snowbells (Galanthus). Tulips are not great naturalizers, tend to weaken each year, and are less likely to be perennial rebloomers.

So let your daffodils retire in peace, and you will be well rewarded next spring with a lane lined in starbursts.

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What I was blogging about one year ago: The Fountain Gurgles Again!



8 thoughts on “Daffodils: How to Encourage Next Year’s Blooms”

  • I always braid my daffodils after they are done. Got it from my mother – it was a late spring ritual we did together. That makes them look neater but still allows them to gather in what sunshine we get in this part of the world.

  • I know I sound like a broken record, but your home is so beautiful Tom – thanks to all your efforts. It truly looks like heaven on earth. Thanks for the hints on the daffy’s. Will put that to use when we’re back in the Northwest!

  • Lisa-do you use beads in the braids ala Bo Derek? 😉

    June–I never get tired of kind words and compliments–thanks!

    NP-Kathy, you’re in for a treat; the US San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands are about as dreamy a summer place as you can find. I’ve not been to Lummi, but I can vouch for the isles of Orcas, San Juan, Lopez and Salt Spring.

  • Your friend might also consider planting Hostas, Lenten Rose. or ground covers (Lirirope, ivy, etc.) which would provide cover for the drooping leaves of spring bulbs. With other plants in the mix, you do not have worry about mowing the leaves down because they are hidden under the leaves of the other plants. check with New Growth Farms for Hostas or Lirirope. good deals.

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