Daffodils are easy-to-grow bulbs for beautiful spring color — here’s how to plant them!
When you plant daffodils, you are choosing a spring flower that’s hardy, easy to grow, and needs no maintenance. As well as that, daffodils will come back year after year and multiply in your garden. They are an attractive feature of any spring flower garden display.
This article will guide you on when to plant daffodils. We also look at where to plant daffodils and give you some top tips on caring for them and when to start planning your spring display. We’ll run through some of our favorite daffodil varieties too — there are loads to choose from!
When to Plant Daffodils
Early autumn is the perfect time to plant daffodil bulbs. September is the best month because the ground is still warm and your bulbs will have plenty of time to settle down before winter starts.
Where to Plant Daffodils
Daffodils are versatile plants to have in the garden. They do well in borders and containers. They are also excellent planted in wilder grassy areas or in large groups under trees. Smaller daffodil varieties look great in rock gardens.
Plant Daffodils with other Spring Bulbs
When you plant daffodils, think about what other spring-flowering plants would make a great display alongside them. Crocuses, snowdrops, scillas, grape hyacinths, primulas, hellebores, tulips and violets are all top choices.
Yellows, purples and whites together make a classic spring display.
Where do you buy daffodil bulbs?
You will see daffodil bulbs for sale in late summer, ready to plant in early autumn. They often come in nets so you can see what you’re buying.
If you are choosing them in a store, pick out the nets that have the biggest bulbs. Give them a squeeze to check that they aren’t soft at all. Avoid bags of bulbs that look like they are going moldy.
If you are ordering online, choose a reputable supplier. Specialist bulb suppliers should have a wide range of daffodils — more than general outlets such as supermarkets. There is usually an excellent choice available because there are so many different types of daffodils to choose from.
Different Daffodils to Plant
There are 13 different groups of daffodils. Some flowers early in spring while others flower later. Many daffodils have beautiful scents. As for the different shapes and colors… there are trumpet, jonquil, double, hoop petticoat, large-cupped, and small-cupped daffodils.
These are just some of the choices! We’ve picked out 5 of our favorites below which are reliable and easy to grow. These are good choices to start with if you are new to gardening.
- Narcissus ‘Carlton’ (Large-cupped daffodil)
Super-reliable daffodil which will spread in your garden year on year. Large, golden yellow trumpets. The ‘classic’ daffodil shape and color that everyone knows.
- Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ (Large-cupped daffodil)
Gorgeous creamy-white flowers. Lemon yellow cups. These daffodils smell delicious. They will keep coming back year after year. They make excellent cut flowers.
- Narcissus ‘Bell Song’ (Jonquil daffodil)
Strongly scented with 2-3 flowers per stem, these apricot pink and white daffodils look stunningly different. They are good naturalizers; perfect planted in large groups.
- Narcissus ‘Actaea’ (Poeticus daffodil)
Bright white flowers with red-rimmed yellow cups. Choose these daffodils for poorly drained soils. The flowers appear in late spring. Excellent in vases.
- Narcissus ‘Segovia’ (Small-cupped daffodil)
A mid-season bloomer. This dwarf daffodil (up to about 8 inches) has bright yellow cups with white petals. Excellent in borders, containers and rock gardens.
How to Plant Daffodils
Daffodils are easy to grow. They are happy in most conditions too. For the best display, choose a spot that has well-draining soil in sun or light shade. Plant daffodil bulbs in groups of 6 or more, to get a good show in any one place. Think about how you might combine them with other spring-flowering plants too.
Planting Daffodils in the Ground
Bulbs are easy to plant. The only thing you need to get right is the depth you plant them at – about three times the height of the bulb. Getting the planting depth right will help your daffodils to flower every year.
Planting Daffodils in Containers
Daffodils in containers can be planted less deeply than you would plant in the ground. Group them close together in a pot, so that you get a nice clump of flowers. Once your container display has finished, transfer the bulbs to the garden (see above).
For winter colour you can plant ‘forced’ daffodil bulbs indoors in September so that they flower at Christmas.
Do daffodils flower every year?
Yes. Daffodils are perennial bulbs that will flower year after year with very little attention. The bulbs are hardy, long-lived and don’t need any looking after. Daffodils naturalize — in other words, they spread year on year.
Some varieties are better at doing this than others. If you want your groups of daffodils to get bigger each year, choose a daffodil that is a good naturalizer.
Do you cut daffodil leaves down once the flowers have died?
Wait at least 6 weeks before you cut daffodil leaves down if you feel you need to tidy them up (it’s not necessary). Leaving them for a few weeks allows the leaves to continue collecting as much energy as possible to store in the plant’s bulb.
Cutting them down too early could mean you have fewer flowers the following year. Tying them in knots doesn’t help them to store energy.
Where do daffodils come from?
Most daffodils come from southern Europe and Northern Africa. Humans have cultivated these pretty spring flowers for centuries, which explains why there are so many different types to choose from. As we’ve seen, there is an enormous range available. Dive in and see which ones suit your backyard style the best.