For the best spring blooms, plant your daffodil bulbs in autumn. That way they have plenty of time to settle in and grow strong root systems to support healthy foliage and brilliant, vibrant displays. Here we take a look at how to plant daffodils for maximum wow factor, and present some of our favourite varieties to try.
When should I plant my daffodils?
Plant daffodil bulbs anytime from the beginning of September through to November. In fact, the earlier you plant them, the better your plants will fare. According to Alan Titchmarsh, you can plant your daffodil bulbs as early as August. That’s because a full autumn and winter in the ground gives your bulbs the best chance to bed in and establish a healthy root system before producing vigorous growth in the spring.
How to plant daffodils
Daffodils are very easy to grow in the garden, and also do really well in containers. All you need to do to get your bulbs off to the best start is to prepare the soil, digging it over to break it up, and at the same time, weeding to remove the competition. Next, pop your bulbs in with the tip facing up, to the depth of three times the height of the bulb.
Firm around the bulbs to force out air pockets and then give them a thorough water. Mulching over the winter insulates the bulbs, prevents weed growth, and ensures the soil doesn’t dry out.
Daffodils are a sun-loving plant which thrive in fertile, well-drained soil. Growing daffodils in containers? Pack the bulbs close together and plant them shallower, applying a liquid tomato feed during the growth phase to ensure the best blooms.
Daffodils come in myriad varieties giving you great options for lawns or borders, or for planting among your shrubs and trees. For best effect, plant in drifts or clumps so that the blooms present an enchanting mass of colour.
Which daffodils to grow
There’s a vast number of daffodils to choose from but to narrow things down a little, here are some of our favourites:
- Narcissus pseudonarcissus. If you’re looking for a truly British daffodil to grow, this is it. Quite short and with papery petals and a slender trumpet, this is a native plant and so great for planting in hedges and woodlands. With grey-green leaves and sunny yellow flowers, this is as traditional a daffodil as it’s possible to find.
- Narcissus ‘Cornish Chuckles’. For versatile reliability, this Cornish daffodil produces up to 7 stems per bulb, each with multiple bold, cheerful blooms! Lightly scented, this variety make it a favourite for spring cut flower displays.
- Narcissus ‘Niveth’. Simple & elegant, this daffodil releases a light scent and makes it a striking option for borders. This is a must for anyone who likes a white daffodil.
- Narcissus ‘Rainbow Butterflies’ Mixed. Ready for something a little alternative? This daffodil features open blooms and, rather than a trumpet, a split cup. It’s a stunning bulb with wonderful colour combinations and yet just as easy to grow as other daffodils.
- Narcissus ‘Peach Cobbler’. For a showy, gorgeous daffodil, this two-tone soft yellow and orange bloom looks great in your borders and makes a delightfully fragrant cut flower for spring vases.
- Narcissus ‘Sunshine Mix’. Variety is the spice of life, and with this eclectic collection of daffodils, you’re guaranteed a stunning display of spring flowers next season.
Make sure you plant your daffodils in plenty of time this autumn and look forward to a dazzling burst of sunny blooms next spring. For more advice, visit our spring flowering bulbs hub page.
Rebecca works in the Marketing department as part of the busy web team, focusing on updating the UK news and blog pages and Thompson & Morgan’s international website. Rebecca enjoys gardening and learning about flowers and growing vegetables with her young daughter.
How is the best way to plant daffodils in pots and how often do you water them
Hello Dave. Daffodil bulbs are incredibly tough and easy to grow. Just choose a pot which gives them at least 10cm of root growth and 10cm of compost above the bulb. Put crocks in the bottom of the pot – this is really important as they need good drainage. Fill the pot up with compost up to the appropriate level (as discussed) and press the bulbs in pointy-end up. You can ram them in quite closely but they shouldn’t be touching – allow at least a bulbs width between each one. Then cover them with compost. Like I say at least 10cm, but you can plant them deeper. As for watering – I would water them after you have planted the bulbs and then leave the pot outside and over the winter I doubt that it will need watering as the rain will do it for you. You only need to water if the compost is bone dry – which is unlikely to happen until it warms up in spring. When the daffs start growing you will need to increase watering. Check them once or twice a week depending on the weather. Respond to the conditions in the pot and the appearance of the plant. Simply insert a finger and test the moisture level of the compost. You want the compost to be moist but not constantly saturated. Other signs that your daffs need watering are shown by the leaves – which will drop and go limp. Generally speaking, more problems are caused by over-watering than under-watering so bear this in mind. Once flowering is over and the leaves are dying back you should stop watering and allow the bulbs to go dormant.
Hi Vee, tulips are different to most other bulbs, infact, you should really wait until november to plant them, to avoid Tulip Fire infection. Regards Craig
Does this apply to other bulbs? Tulips etc?