Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Declining Daffodils

My daffodils are declining.

Not just because it is mid-April and their peak bloom time has passed. I mean I have fewer of them. Lots and lots of foliage, but not a lot of flowers.

See all that beautiful foliage? Those few flowers in front are all I got.

Have the bulbs increased too much and crowded each other out, not allowing bulbs to form large enough to flower? Have the increases gone ever-deeper into the soil and prevented blooms? Is there some other problem?

I think I need to dig them up and divide them, I just don't know when to do it. I don't think I should do this now, that would stress them too much when they need to be storing up for next year. Can I divide them in early summer after the foliage has faded? That would be the best time for me, as I'd know exactly where they are, and they will still be on my mind. But new bulbs are planted in mid-late fall, so is that the best time to divide as well? Probably.

So I'll try to remember to do that in the fall. The bulbs will already be formed at whatever size they are going to be, so I doubt I'll get many flowers next year, either. But I have to start somewhere.

I started cutting the faded flowers in the side garden today, for my great daffodil count (which won't be so great this year). Today's cuttings: 80. I've gotten most of the yellows and the early whites. The later whites along the front walk are still going strong.

Why are these spread out and full of blooms? Because every time I plant something in this bed I accidentally dig up a bunch of bulbs and have to replant them. So they've been accidentally divided many times over the last few years. I even moved some to below the wall. They are in too much shade there, but many are blooming.

So I think I have an answer to one question: divide those daffodils!

4/29/2011 update
Final 2011 daff count: 175
2010: 282
2009: 347


  1. I have a TON of plants that didn't flower this year. Only one of my tulips flowered, and none of my irises. :-/

  2. Tulips don't do well in our climate. Many last only a year, two years is tops for others. I still get some scraggly foliage from some that were here when I moved in, but no flowers. And the ones I planted a few years ago are nearly gone.

    It is still too early for irises, so give yours a chance. Most of mine don't have flower stalks yet. I have one bud developing on my earliest. Look for them to flower in May.

  3. Yes, I think you are correct that they need dividing. I had always heard to let the foliage die and replant them in the fall, but on a recent blog I read (can't remember which one now!), it was stated that you can divide and replant now. I always put a little bone meal in the hole as insurance...not sure if it really does any good though!

  4. Thanks for the tips, Dorothy. I have so many, maybe I'll do some now and some later, and see what works best. I love a good experiment!

  5. I think you answered your own questions. I move them 'in the green' sometimes and sometimes after the foliage fades and sometimes in the fall. They are tough. Don't forget to post what works best.