growing daffodils in the garden

by Sharon Santoni

Daffodil season is starting up here and it makes me happy to see these cheerful yellow blooms brightening up the end-of-winter garden.

I get a lot of questions about growing daffodils in the garden, and in particular in the lawn, so here we go for the answers.

Are daffodils easy to grow?

Yes absolutely! Launch and forget is the way it goes for daffodils. Pop them in the ground, blow them a kiss, wish them well and walk away.

Do I need to dig them up each year?

Well I certainly don’t do that. Honestly life is a little short for digging up daffodils each year, so if you have the space in your beds or in the lawn, then just leave them in place and they will happily hibernate, multiply and reflower the next year.

Are there many different varieties?

Yes there are a lot of varieties. Those I have in the lawn here are mostly the same variety, whose name I don’t actually know. In the beds I have quite a few different breeds, some taller than others, some with double blooms, others more simple. It’s nice to have a mix.

If I buy paperwhites at Christmas time can I put them in the garden afterwards?

Yes indeed! I do this every year. I buy a lot of paperwhites, hyacinths and grape hyacinths for the house . Once they have finished flowering I pop them outside, and when I get a moment, plant them beneath bushes , or at the foot of trees. The next year I’m rewarded with the pretty blooms that appear in March.

Can I plant daffodils in pots

Yes! Here is a photo by my friend Charlotte Ann Fidler , who creates an amazing display of daffodils each year outside her front door in the UK. This is the ideal space for combining different varieties and playing with height and colour.

@charlotte_annefidler

Is it easy to grow daffodils in a lawn?

Yes it is easy …. but you have to know that the beautiful clouds of yellow flowers come at a small price. Why is this? Well, daffodils need to die back in order to gain strength to flower again next year. This is why we pick the flowers but leave the long leaves to fade.

If they die back in a flower bed, then you can keep the long floppy leaves tidy by tying them in a knot until they come away easily from the hidden bulb. In the lawn, as you wait for them to die back (about 6 weeks) the grass all around is growing longer and longer. When you finally cut the grass and the daffodil leaves in one go, you are left with a circle of grass roots that have been deprived of light for over a month, and who will form a slightly yellow patch until the grass can renew itself.

I have tried remedying this with fertiliser, with extra water, but it is only time that makes the difference.

Does that mean it’s a bad idea? That’s your decision. Personally I love the clouds of daffodils dancing over my March lawn, and simply decide to ignore the yellow patch which turns up for a week or so in May.

So how about you? Do daffodils grown well in your corner of the world? Do you pick them and bring them inside, or enjoy them in pots on the terrace? Looking forward to your answers.

And if you are impatient for the gardening season to begin, then why not treat yourself to our Le Jardin collection ! A gorgeous mini-collection including a wonderful canvas bag for your tools and many other items. See the details here.

11 comments

Jeannie March 9, 2022 - 12:58 am

Daffodils are definitely considered ‘harbingers’ of spring around my home. They are bright and cheerful and even make me feel hopeful for the many spring days ahead. Thank you for sharing yours! I especially appreciate the information about growing daffodils in the lawn and what to expect as they finish out their growing and blooming season. Thank you!

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robert March 9, 2022 - 2:01 am

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you!

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Jae March 9, 2022 - 2:06 am

Beautiful daffodils! I plant my taller ones with day lilies and my smaller ones amid hostas by my tree line. They get full sun to bloom, but as they start to fade, the lilies and hostas are growing and hide a lot of the yellowing daffodils leaves. Of course, this won’t work in grass, but is great in my borders and beds. Love your photos!

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Allison Herronq March 9, 2022 - 2:56 am

HI, I’m new to your site and just love it! We lived in southern Burgundy (from the USA) for 20 years and, unfortunately, sold our place and moved to CA in Jan 2020 – just in time to not travel in the USA because of Covid. I am just sick about not being in France anymore… So, we are doing a 6 week trip back to our perfect village for a couple of weeks and then 4 more weeks to some of our favorite places. One of the places we are going to go back to is Normandy. We really don’t know it well at all – each time we went, the US cemetery was closed! This time, we are going to stay in Courselles-Sur-Mer. Can you suggest any special villages around there which we can visit when we aren’t on the beaches or in museums? Thank you so much for your consideration.

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Liz March 9, 2022 - 3:12 am

The shorter the daff (Tête-à-tête), the earlier it blooms and the sturdier it is when heavy rains frosts and snow surprises us. I find my daffs planted in BC, Canada, do not do well in heavy soil as it’s too wet and the bulbs rot. Ditto planting in pots without GREAT drainage. Love the idea of hiding foliage amidst hostas as the foliage is so messy my hubby cuts them too low to tidy up the garden look. Might explain why else I never see them again…..

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Sharon March 9, 2022 - 3:40 am

Beautiful pictures! And, I especially love the dog….!!

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Nadene March 9, 2022 - 4:04 am

Im in South Africa and did exactly what you said, just planted them outside so I am just waiting to see what happens when Winter comes around.

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PARROT March 9, 2022 - 1:39 pm

To share :
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud Launch Audio in a New Window
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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Shanne March 9, 2022 - 2:07 pm

Lovely blooms! Thank you for the information. I have several varieties, but the fo not get enough sun in some locations. They love sun!!

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Carolyn Watson March 9, 2022 - 7:01 pm

I live in Mississippi, USA. We love daffodils here! One thing you didn’t mention is that eventually, as the bulbs multiply for several years, they can become over crowded and won’t bloom as well. When this happens you need to dig them up soon after blooming and spread the bulbs out. This can be done in the fall or winter also, but it will be harder to find the bulbs.

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Emm March 18, 2022 - 2:12 am

Have you considered the possibility of doing a book on gardening and household improvements/fix-its? Not a big, formal hardcover, but a paperback that can be toted around with the reader. You have such a wealth of information here in various blog posts on gardens, and making raised beds, and so on, that having it all in one place could be a boon.

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