daffodil difficulties

Asked July 6, 2018, 11:48 PM EDT

This spring very few of my daffodils actually blossomed. I noticed a lot of them only came up a couple of inches and didn't get any taller. What could have caused this? A relative in Wisconsin had the same thing happen this year.

Codington County South Dakota

7 Responses

My first question is, were these newly planted bulbs this past fall or had you grown these in your yard for several years? If they were in your landscape last year, did you allow the foliage to fully mature, turn yellow and begin to dry before it was removed? It is important to allow this for all spring-flowering bulbs so that the bulbs are fully recharged with carbohydrates that are manufactured by the leaves and stored in the bulbs.

If you just planted them last fall, were they good quality bulbs initially? Small, weak bulbs may not have sufficient carbohydrate reserves to put on new growth and produce flowers. If the bulbs were stored improperly or for too long before planting, this could be a problem too.

These were older plantings that had previously blossomed. I always allow the foliage to die down naturally before removal. I have not added fertilizer to them. I did add a wood mulch to one area and the tulips in this area came up fine, but the daffodils did not.

You certainly have me puzzled. By any chance did you dig down to see if the bulbs are still intact? I do not think the mulch is the answer unless only the areas that you mulched had virtually no growth from the daffodils.

I didn't think to dig down earlier, so moments ago I went out and actually found one that was still green! I dug it up and found that the bulb had divided into 4 bulbs, all smaller than the size I would probably plant to start with. They seemed fairly firm, but the outside covering seemed pretty wet. However, I had a lot of daffodils in this area and I think a lot of them never came up at all. I am wondering if this is a result of the strange spring we had. Some of us lost various other perennials we never dreamed would die. And my relative in Wisconsin had the same thing happen to her daffodils this year.

That is what I was thinking as well. It was cold and wet for a long time and then suddenly it got very hot and dry. If the bulbs are still there, some of them may come back next spring but it might take another year before they start blooming well again.

Considering those thoughts, I think I may put in some new daffodil bulbs this fall. If the old ones still want to live it will just be a bonus whenever they might decide to bloom! Thank you for your thoughts! Joanne

You are welcome. Hopefully next spring will be closer to normal and you have an abundance of flowers;