5 Steps To Dazzling Daffodils

Ilona Erwin

Planting Easy Care Daffodils

Daffodils, Narcissus species, are quite easy to grow, but there are a few things you can do to insure that the bulbs you plant produce a dazzling display of spring bloom year after year.


Be sure you plant your bulbs in a place that gets enough sunshine. Daffodils like at least part sun to bloom well. If they have orange or pink colorations they prefer part day sunshine to full sun, but Daffodils will not bloom if they are planted in too much shade.

If your bulbs aren’t blooming this is the first factor to check: how much sunlight are they getting?.


Daffodils are wonderful multipliers under normal circumstances, which means you easily will have plenty of flowers, but it can also mean they get crowded and need division.

If you have a plethora of leaves and few flowers, it is time to dig up your stand of bulbs to divide and replant.You can replant right away or dry the bulbs and store them over summer (my mom used those mesh bags they sell apples or oranges in) and plant in the fall.

If you lift and store, keep them in a cool, shady place- my mother hung the bag in the garage away from the light.


Being long lived plants, Narcissus can use some feeding. I like to plant the bulbs initially with some handfuls of bone meal dug into the bottom of the planting hole or trench.

Every so often it is a good idea to give them a 5-10-10 formulation of fertilizer.The initial number is nitrogen. Lower in percentage because you don’t want large amounts of it to produce more leaves. Typically bone meal has a high middle number (phosphorus) which promotes rooting and setting flower buds.

April daffodils

Daffodils with creeping Juniper


Leave the leaves! This is one of the most important things to remember with plants that grow from bulbs. Bulbs are food storage units, and the way they get fat and sassy is through the photosynthesis action of the leaves.

If you prematurely cut off the leaves, it limits the amount of nutrients available for the next year’s flowering.Allow the leaves to yellow and wither before removing them. This also means that bulbs growing in a naturalized manner in the lawn should be allowed to grow until well into June. A little mussiness is the price we pay for beautiful spring pictures.


Like most bulbs, daffodils like moisture but good drainage: don’t let them sit in water to rot. If you have heavy clay soil, some recommend sand or Perlite spaded into the bed, but I have grown them in clay soils with no diminished health or blooming (attributing it to that handful or so of bone meal).

Just make sure they aren’t planted in wet spots or deep shade.


pink daffodils

Pink cup daffodils

Follow these five steps and I’m sure you will have a brilliant show of daffodils each year.

More Daffodil Tips

It is fun to grow the different types with their varied forms and close harmonies of color -daffodils don’t clash!

Another thing going for them is that they are poisonous, a real plus when you want something to deter rodents, which are bulb eating machines.

Try interplanting daffodils with crocus, with daffodils 6-8 inches deep and a layer of crocus overplanted about 3-4 inches deep. The scent of the daffodils discourages pests from eating the crocus.

A favorite companion for narcissus is the contrasting blue of Muscari armenicum. They reliably bloom together and create a beautiful spring picture.

Naturalizing Narcissus

In the garden of Miss Willmott:

“The gardeners children were persuaded without much difficulty, to throw handfuls of bulbs from a wheelbarrow over the ground-where they fell, there they were planted and there they multiplied”

Miss Willmott of Warley Place: Her Life and Her Gardens  –

-by Audrey Le Lievre


Daffodils can stretch your bloom season, with the many varieties of named daffodils listed.

Good Varieties

Daffodil Geranium
Tete A Tete
February Gold
Ice Follies


Learn How To Stretch the Bloom Season

See When Daffodil Varieties Bloom The Time to Buy Bulbs, –and what to look for Dutch Bulb FAQ
For even more growing information for Daffodils and other spring blooming bulbs: Tulips and Daffodils


Originally posted in my Garden Journal.


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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.