How to Plant Daffodil Bulbs

daffodil bulbs and flower in a yellow pot

No spring garden is complete without daffodil flowers. In fact, daffodils are known to transform a bleak winter wasteland into a luscious, yellow garden bed of life. 

With their long cups, star-shaped blooms and vibrant yellow petals, daffodil flowers will certainly make a statement in your garden. Better yet, daffodil flower bulbs are low maintenance, easy to care for and they return year after year, so they are the perfect flower for beginner and advanced gardeners alike.

The key to growing a successful daffodil flower starts with its planting and ends with its care. We’re ready to share with you our expert tips to grow and plant daffodils in your garden. Get ready to liven up your garden bed with these beautiful sunshine plants!

white daffodil flowers close up photo

What are Daffodil Bulbs?

Out of all spring flowers, none compare to the daffodil. 

Daffodils, or narcissus are springtime perennials that belong to the amaryllis family, Amarylidaceae. These true bulbs are known to grow into beautiful white and yellow flowers with six petals and a trumpet-like star shape emerging from the center.

These hardy bulbs are grown across North America in many environments, except in regions known for having hot, wet climates. 

Daffodil bulbs are planted in the fall, but they are one of the first flowers to bloom in late winter or early spring. As a perennial, daffodils re-bloom each spring, and even have the power to multiple and naturalize on their own.

Daffodils are also a favorite springtime flower because unlike tulip bulbs and hyacinths, they do not get eaten by animals. In fact, daffodils are known to naturally repel squirrels, rodents and other wilderness creatures.

So let’s get you ready to brighten up your garden! As you know, the common color of daffodils is yellow, sometimes white. But there are a wide variety of daffodil bulbs and plants that exist. We’ll let you in on everything you need to know to choose your daffodil bulbs.

yellow daffodil bulb in a pot

How to Choose Daffodil Bulbs

If you close your eyes and picture a daffodil, you’re likely to imagine a yellow flower center wrapped in its yellow petals like a cup and saucer. These traditional daffodil flowers are known as ‘Dutch Masters.’ 

While Dutch Masters are beautiful flower buds, there are a number of other daffodil varieties for you to choose from. Daffodils come in hundreds of varieties with sizes ranging from miniature to giant flowers. In addition, daffodils can span the color wheel, giving off peach, orange, yellow, pink or white hues. 

If you’re looking for more yellow flowers, read our blog how to grow sunflowers indoors. We also include some tips on how to grow it hydroponically.

Open your mind to the different varieties, colors and sizes of daffodils, because you never know what you might discover at a nursery or plant shop!

For example, the ‘Golden Ducat’ is one of the larger daffodil bulbs, blooming mid to late season and growing between 12 and 16 inches tall. Suggested by its name, the Golden Ducat is a double daffodil with stunning yellow petals.

If you’re interested in larger bulbs and double daffodils, you might also search for the ‘Petit Four.’ As with large bulbs, this flower can grow up to 16 inches tall and boast brilliant colors. The Petit Four is known to have white petals with an apricot-pink stained center.

But as you know, sometimes gardens can have limited space. In this case, bulb size might be an issue for you and your garden. But don’t worry! There are a number of smaller bulbs available to you as a gardener. And don’t be too worried about size, because even a small daffodil can be a showstopper!

For example, the ‘Rip van Winkle’ and ‘February Gold” daffodils are miniature daffodils known for the delicate, natural looks they give off.

Although we just named a few, there are many more varieties of daffodils for you to explore and learn more about. Once you’ve chosen which kind is right for you and your garden, you’ll be ready to plant it! Here’s our tips for planting daffodil bulbs.

Here are some best daffodil bulb sellers from Amazon:

 

Tips for Planting Daffodil Bulbs

Daffodils are one of the easiest bulbs to care for, but only if planted correctly. To achieve the best results when you plant daffodil bulbs, take our advice!

When to Plant Daffodil Bulbs

The best time to plant daffodil bulbs is in the fall, about two to four weeks before the ground freezes. 

However, depending on where you live, the exact timing for when to plant daffodil bulbs can vary. Regardless, you should monitor the ground’s soil temperatures, as the ideal soil temperature for planting daffodils is 60 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 6 inches. Typically, this soil temperature occurs sometimes between late September to early November, but be sure to check your local first expected frost and do more research to determine a more precise timeline.

Your USDA zone can also give you a clue as to when you should plant your bulbs. For example, if you live in USDA zones 4 to 6, plant your daffodils as soon as they are available in early fall. Daffodils grow best in colder climates, so they will thrive in USDA zones 7 and lower. However, there are still many daffodil varieties that grow well in warmer climates, or zones 8 and higher, especially if they have winter months and get a cold period with snow cover.

You might be wondering why daffodils need to be planted in the fall and not in any other seasons. The answer is that most varieties of daffodils require cold temperatures to stimulate its bloom time in the following spring.

If planted at the right time, your daffodil bulbs should bloom sometime between early winter to late spring and last until early summer, before returning the following year.

planting daffodil bulbs in a stainless pot blue background image

Where to Plant Daffodil Bulbs

Before planting your daffodil bulbs, it’s important that you choose a good planting area. 

We recommend to choose a spot with either full sun or partial shade. Daffodils will bloom best in a sunny spot with good air circulation and enough exposure to the elements. If you don’t have a spot in direct sunlight, choose somewhere that receives at least six hours of bright sun everyday.

Some gardeners want to plant their bulbs in a shady spot or under a tree, but with that comes the risk that the flowers will only produce green leaves and not bloom.

When choosing the location, it’s also important to think about the spot’s soil texture. Daffodils can tolerate a range of soils, but grow best in moderately fertile, well-draining soil. However, if the bulbs become too moist, they may rot, so it’s important that they are planted in a damp, slightly dry place with good drainage.

Depending on which type of daffodil bulbs you choose to plant, they might also have other soil needs and requirements, so be sure to conduct additional research if necessary.

How to Plant Daffodil Bulbs in a Garden

Once you’ve chosen the desired location for your daffodil bulbs, make sure the site is prepared and the soil is ready. 

When the soil is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, measure out the width and depth of the hole and its soil level. Depending on the size and depth of the bulb, the recommended depth for planting the bulbs is between 3 to 8 inches deep, while the recommended width is between bulbs is 4 to 6 inches apart.

Once your flower beds are measured, dig holes for your bulbs. Before planting the next bulbs, make sure each bulb is in the ground with its pointy end up. Next, prepare the soil surface by covering the bulbs and garden beds with loose soil. This will protect the tender bulbs and secure them until blooming season.

Depending on the square footage and style of your garden, you can choose to plant clumps of daffodils or other flowers too. For a planned out, formal garden, we love the way grape hyacinths contrast with the yellow of the daffodils. For a more earthy or natural looking garden, take advantage of your exterior’s organic matter and embrace nearby deciduous trees or species tulips. You can also grow other plant bulbs such as giant crocus or crocus vernus, which are other beautiful springtime plants. 

No matter how you choose to grow your garden, remember that using creativity is all that matters!

How to Plant Daffodil Bulbs in a Pot

If you don’t have the luxury of deep planting daffodil bulbs in the ground, no worries! Planting bulbs is easy in a pot or bulb planter.

Before you plant your bulbs, make sure to choose a good container or pot with good drainage. It’s important that the bottom of the pot is spacious and allows for good root growth. After identifying the pot, it’ll be time to prepare your soil mixture. To avoid using poor soil, we recommend creating a mixture of regular soil, peat moss and sandy soil.

When your soil is ready, place it into the container, making sure that the container has good drainage for water to pass through and not gather and stay at the bottom. Here’s our recommended pots perfect for your daffodil bulbs:

Photo Title Price Buy
Honeysuckle Planter, Patio...image Honeysuckle Planter, Patio Pot, 15" Tequila Sunrise $22.99 ($22.99 / Count)
HOMENOTE Pots for...image HOMENOTE Pots for Plants, 15 Pack 6 inch Plastic Planters with Multiple Drainage Holes and Tray - Plant Pots for All Home Garden Flowers Succulents, Cream White $19.99
6 inch Plastic...image 6 inch Plastic Planters with Saucers, Set of 5 Indoor Flower Plant Pots Modern Decorative Gardening Pot with Drainage Hole for All House Plants, Flowers, Herbs, African Violets, Aloe, Ivy, Colorful $14.99 ($3.00 / Count)
Half Barrel Garden...image Half Barrel Garden Planters – Farmhouse Garden - Set of 2 $31.98 ($31.98 / Count)

Before planting your bulbs, it’s a good idea to see how many will fit in the container. Use the same planting measurements and sunlight requirements that we previously mentioned for growing daffodil bulbs outside in the garden.

After planting your bulbs in either the garden or in a pot, get ready for the next step, which is plant care. 

An easy way to ensure your daffodils bloom each spring is by giving them the right care and attention. By following our tips, your daffodils will grow, naturalize and multiply for the next couple of years!

Tips for Caring for Daffodil Bulbs

After planting the bulbs, water your daffodils once after planting and once a week for the next three weeks following their planting. It is crucial that daffodils receive enough care and attention during this time, because that is when their roots begin developing. After these three weeks are over, leave the daffodils alone until they begin emerging from the soil.

Once they peak their tops out, monitor the weather to see how much spring rain they are receiving. If it goes without rain for two to three weeks during the daffodil’s growth, provide them with additional watering.

Stop watering your daffodil flowers once they stop blooming and they begin to turn brown. Overwatering them at this point could make them more prone to rotting.

Feeding daffodils with fertilizer is not necessary, but if they are not growing or blooming, you can apply a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer to their flowering bulbs.

After the daffodils finally bloom, allow them to grow naturally on their own until they become dormant and die off. While it may look like they are done growing during this stage, they actually use this time to store energy for next year’s bloom, so it’s important that you don’t cut them down earlier.

Once it comes time to remove the dead plants, cut them off at their base or twist the leaves and pull tightly.

Also read: How to Propagate Succulents From Cuttings And Leaves

If you wish to harvest the daffodils before this, place the cut flowers alone in a vase. These beautiful, fragrant blooms have the power to wilt other flowers, so if you hope to make a floral arrangement with your daffodils, soak them by themselves for as long as you can, then add them to the arrangement last.

While these fragrant flowers look and smell pleasant in a bouquet, be careful because the sap from the daffodils can irritate skin and allergies.

Looking to grow more colorful plants? Check our tips for neon pothos care.

Conclusion

As you prepare for next spring, I’m sure the first thing on your mind is getting and planting daffodil bulbs. Continue your search and your research about what bulbs are right for you and your garden, and keep learning about the best practices for caring for them. By this time next year, you’ll certainly be a pro! We can’t wait to see next year’s flowers!

Devri Chism

Devri loves making the most of her in-home garden. While she was raised on a farm in the Ozarks, she traded the rolling hills for big city livin’ - and an itty bitty living space. She loves growing herbs, as well as, accent plants that can be used decoratively around her home.

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