3 Things to Do Now to Pump Up Your Daffodils for Next Year

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

5 Minutes is All It Takes

Want more and better blossoms from your daffodils next year? Here’s what you need to know:

1.     Don’t cut back the foliage now. The greenery is like the charger for your cellphone, but for bulbs. The leaves make food for the bulbs to keep them productive. Cut back the stems when they start to yellow and dry up, or any time after the Fourth of July.

Don't cut back this foliage now, wait till later!

2.     Yes, do cut off dried blossoms now. Making seeds takes energy which could be used to improve the vitality of the bulbs themselves. (The same goes for lilacs, it’s better to cut off the dead blooms now, though not mandatory).  

Cut off the seeds and spent flowers now.

3.     Fertilize your bulbs now. Most books say to do this in the fall, but few of us remember exactly where the bulbs were planted, come fall. You can buy special “bulb booster,” but I don’t. I just sprinkle a good slow-release organic fertilizer over the bulbs. Pro-Gro or Plant Tone are 2 good brands, and there are others. It is good to scratch in the fertilizer, but you can just let the rain work it in if you are in a hurry – or feeling lazy. I use half a cup to a cup over a bunch of 25 bulbs.

Tulips I consider annuals - and don't bother fertilizing

You can fertilize all your bulb plants, but in my experience I don’t see that fertilizing tulips helps much. I treat them as annuals, and re-plant each year. I like to plant 100 tulips each fall in one big splash of color. And although one of my coaching clients got 90 blooms the second year from the hundred tulips we planted together, most often in the second year you’ll get half the number (or less) than what you planted. And just a handful in year 3.

Snowdrops are early, small, and wonderful! They bloom in early March on a south-facing hillside.

The anticipation of spring bulbs are part of what keep me going through the winter and mud season. So I am willing to do almost anything I can to increase the show – including shoveling snow off my beds of snowdrops! 

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