Daffodils, also known by their botanical name narcissus, are easy and reliable spring-flowering bulbs. They multiply quickly and return to bloom again each spring, year after year. They are not fussy about soil, will grow in sun or part shade and are not bothered by deer, rabbits and other pesky critters.
Yellow is the most common color for daffodils, but the blossoms also come in white, cream, orange and even pink. There are several different flower styles, including trumpets, doubles, split-cups, large-cups and jonquillas. Planting an assortment of different types of daffodils will give you 4 to 6 weeks of beautiful, carefree flowers every spring.
It’s easy to see the difference in quality when you compare two daffodil bulbs side by side. As with most flower bulbs, narcissus are graded by size and measured in centimeters around the “waist” of the bulb. Larger, 14/16cm daffodil bulbs (shown at far left) will produce more stems and more flowers than smaller, 12/14cm bulbs.
Each year’s crop of daffodil bulbs is a little different, due to weather conditions before and during the harvest. Bulb size also varies by cultivar, with some varieties of daffodils naturally producing larger bulbs than others. We purchase the largest, highest quality bulbs possible and guarantee that you will be pleased with your purchase.
To see our selection of more than 30 daffodil varieties, plus mixes, pairs and collections, click HERE.
Sun or Shade: Daffodils will grow in full sun or partial shade.
Hardiness Zone: Daffodils are winter hardy in growing zones 3-8 and will return to bloom again year after year. If you live in a place with relatively warm winters, you may want to read: How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Warm Climates. Don't know your hardiness zone? Reference the USDA Hardiness Zone Map here.
Soil Conditions: Daffodils are not fussy about soil. They are happy to grow almost anywhere as long as the soil is not soggy.
Front Yards and Entryways: Planting daffodils in front of your house will let you and your neighbors enjoy a wave of welcoming spring color for years to come. To extend the flowering season, choose varieties with complementary bloom times, which you can learn about here: Types of Daffodils to Know and Grow. If you'd like achieve a relatively formal look, plant in blocks, keeping each variety separate. Combining a number of different flower shapes and colors will give you a more casual, naturalistic effect.
Perennial Gardens: Daffodils come into bloom long before most perennials. Planting daffodils in your flower beds will ensure you have flowers as soon as the weather begins to warm up. Miniature daffodils are a good choice for flower gardens as their leaves are narrower and won't get in the way of newly emerging perennials.
Containers and Window Boxes: Daffodils are traditionally planted in yards and gardens, but they also grow well in containers. This makes it easy to add instant spring charm to porches, patios or small urban gardens. In zones 6 and colder, potted bulbs need winter protection to keep the soil from freezing. Learn more here: How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Containers.
Cut Flower Gardens: Celebrate the color and fragrance of spring with bouquets of daffodils that can be enjoyed indoors or be shared with friends and family. Planting daffodils in a cutting garden will ensure you always have plenty of blossoms to cut.
Naturalizing: Daffodils are ideal for naturalizing in meadows, wooded areas or near ponds and streams. They come back reliably every year and are not bothered by deer or rodents. For recommended varieties, read Best Daffodils for Naturalizing.
When to Plant: Daffodils may be planted from mid-fall through early winter -- any time before the ground freezes. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month after you receive them.
Depth and Spacing: Dig a hole 6” deep. Set the daffodil bulb into the hole pointy side up. Cover the bulb with soil and water the area if the soil is dry.
Planting Tips: Daffodils look best when they are planted in informal groups rather than in straight rows. Clusters of bulbs in a triangular, oval or rectangular shape will have a fuller, more natural look.
To enjoy the daffodil season for as long as possible, select varieties that bloom at different times (early, mid and late season). An assortment of different varieties will ensure new flowers are opening as others are fading. See suggestions HERE.
To watch our video about How to Plant Daffodils, click HERE.
Daffodil bulbs develop roots in the fall and then go dormant for the winter. Depending where you live, they will begin growing again as early as February or as late as April. The first thing you will see emerging from the soil is the tips of the leaves. Don't worry about snow or freezing temperatures harming the foliage; daffodils are very cold hardy.
When the foliage is about 6 inches tall, flower buds will start to emerge from the base of the plant. The stems will gradually get taller and the buds will get larger and begin showing color. Depending on weather conditions, you can expect this process to take 3-6 weeks.
Daffodils are hardy in zones 3-8 and do not need to be dug out at the end of the season. Once planted, the bulbs will flower again every spring, usually in increasing numbers. Here are some tips to ensure your daffodils bloom for many years to come.
Once the flowers have wilted, you can snap off the spent blooms. This step is not essential, but it will keep your garden looking neat.
Daffodil bulbs use their foliage to create the food energy that's required for another year of flowers. For this reason, it is important to allow the foliage to continue growing until it dies back naturally. Once the leaves have lost their green color, they can be removed with a gentle tug or be trimmed back to soil level.
Most daffodil bulbs will produce one to three flowers the first spring after planting. Over time the bulbs will divide and multiply, giving you more stems and more flowers, for an ever more impressive show of color.
Clumps of daffodils can eventually get large and overcrowded, which can cause a decrease in flower production. If this happens, you'll need to dig up the bulbs, divide them and replant. The best time to do this is within a month after flowering, while the foliage is still green.
To learn more about daffodils, you may also be interested in reading:
Planting Fall Bulbs in a Meadow (video)
How to Plant Daffodil Bulbs (video)