The Flowers that Bloom in the Spring, Tra La!

April 29, 2010 2 Comments

Okay.. maybe not all the flowers.  I’m thinking daffodils. And they are almost done blooming.  And some of them haven’t bloomed at all.

I am always amazed at how many varieties of daffodils/narcissus’ there are.  I always want the ones that I don’t have.  I just have to remember it come fall when I pour bulbs into the giant hole in the ground that I’m going to dig.

This is also the time when some daffodils have decided they don’t want to bloom.  There are different reasons, but some are that they didn’t get enough energy saved into the bulb to produce the flower, or they need to be divided, or they are getting too much nitrogen in their fertilizer, or…

I found a bunch of information from the American Daffodil Society

Bulbs need to be fertilized every so often, say every couple of years.  They like a 5-10-10 feet at planting, when leaves start showing and again when they bloom.  (5-10-10 means it should have 5% by weight nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium, in that order).  If it is getting too much nitrogen it will promote leaf growth, but not flower production. 

If the plants are getting too little sun, they won’t perform very well.  They need at least half a day of sun to produce flowers, longer if only in partial sunlight.

If they are in competition for food with other plants, they will be less likely to produce flowers. 

This is mostly tulips, but the daffodils are fighting their way through! We planted them too close together, but they sure look good.

Make sure they are in an area with good drainage.  They love water, but they don’t do well where the water puddles.  The roots can rot and then the plants die out.  If they get basal rot fungus, they will have color loss on the leaves, malformed leaves, stems and flowers or all of the above.  If you have basal rot, you can not cure it, so you need to dig up and discard the bulbs.

Make sure that you leave the leaves on until they die back completely.  If the leaves are cut too soon the plant cannot store enough food for the bulb to produce flowers the following year. 

Daffodil bulbs need to be divided every year or two.  I haven’t divided mine in much longer than that!

These had a few blooms, but not too many. I guess I'll have to dig them up this year and divide them.

Wait until the foliage is yellowed and then dig up the bulbs.  Separate the individual bulbs, getting rid of any that are soft.  You can replant them right away (about 6 inches apart and 6 inches deep), or dry the bulbs in the shade, store them in a mesh bag of some sort and replant them in the fall.  If you do replant them immediately, DO NOT water them until the fall.  If you water them, they will just rot.   

When the flowers are done, you want to remove them.  If you leave the seed heads, the plant uses its energy to produce the seeds and not restore the bulbs energy reserves.

Deadhead the flowers. I removed mine after I took this picture.

And there are a couple more possibilities including inhospitable weather during the previous Spring or the bulbs may be diseased or stressed from shipping the Summer before and a couple of others.  Just check out the American Daffodil Society‘s site.

Dig it!

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  1. Caroline says:

    On replanting divided daffodils…If they’re not supposed to be watered after replanting…But they will get rained on at some point. So should they be replanted or just replanted during a dry spell?

    • Eileen Loan says:

      Caroline, We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can keep from giving them even more. This makes sure that we don’t add to the moisture. I think the idea is to keep the bulb with only the moisture from rain and not the hose. I’ll try to find more information on it, but the main thing is to not add to the ground moisture. Thanks for the question!

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