Guidelines for Growing Daffodils

For printable daffodil growing guides, please reference the document below;

Daffodil Growing Guidelines for your Unique Region of the USA

Some general guidelines for growing beautiful daffodils in your garden;

  1. Visit Local and American Daffodil Society’s daffodil shows in March, April and May and see the many different varieties available. Also, visit the local display gardens.  Nothing beats seeing the different blooms. Decide what colors and forms you like best.
  2.  Write for catalogs in late March or April. Order and pay for your bulbs in April, May, or June. Growers will ship the bulbs to you in September, so put them in a cool (not refrigerator) and airy place.  Plant the bulbs when grounds have cooled, in some climates September and for warmer climates in November.
  3. Choose a well-drained, sunny place. Hillsides and raised beds are best. DRAINAGE is the key. Spade at least twelve inches deep. Improve your clay with well-rotted compost, soil amendment, or planting mix and raise the bed. Slightly acidic soil is best, so you might add soil sulfur if you have alkaline soil.
  4.  During the soil preparation, a complete fertilizer, low in nitrogen, (3 -6-6 or 5-10-10) should be worked in (about 1/4 cup per square foot). Be sure the fertilizer does not come in direct contact with the bulbs.
  5. Plant your daffodils so that their top (pointed end) is at least two times as deep as the bulb is high (top of a 2″ bulb is 4″ deep). Exactness isn’t crucial; they’ll adjust. Plant bulbs deeper in sandy soil than in clay.
  6. Top-dress with 5-10-10 when the leaf-tips emerge. As they flower, top-dress with 0-10-10 or 0-0-50. High-nitrogen fertilizer should be avoided.
  7. Daffodils need lots of water while they are growing. Water immediately after planting and keep them moist until the rains come. Continue watering for three weeks or so after blooming time; then stop watering. The bulbs make their next year’s bloom after flowering. (Your first-year bloom is largely due to the previous grower of the bulb.)
  8. You may leave daffodils down in the ground for between 3 to 5 years.  If blooming does not happen one season, it would be best to move them to a new location.
  9. After blooming, never cut the foliage until it begins to yellow (usually late May or June). Then is the time to dig them. Wash the bulbs thoroughly and let them dry completely (at least a week). Put them in onion sacks (or panty hose) and hang them in the coolest place you can find until ready to plant. Good air circulation will keep storage rot at a minimum.
  10. Join the ADS and a local daffodil society near you and have a good time socializing with another group of garden folks. The following spring, bring your prize blooms to one of our events and show your growing skills.

Your Best-in-Show daffodil is but a year away!