Daffodils never bloomed...
Hi. (I love this resource, by the way. Thank you so much for making your knowledge available!) I have daffodils planted in several locations around my house. They all sprouted leaves nicely and look very healthy and happy, but almost none of them bloomed. There were a handful of buds (majority didn't bud at all), but they never opened and are now turning brown and dying off. What do you think my problem is. The patch in the picture were planted last fall in good rich soil/compost and fertilized with bulb food. Thanks for any insight.
District of Columbia County District of Columbia
It's possible this is simply a case of most bulbs being too young or not robust enough to bloom this year. Some bulb suppliers receive lower-quality (or merely younger) bulbs which are a year or more away from their best blooming potential. If these plants are in full sun and well-drained soil. they should bloom well in time. (Daffodils will tolerate fair amounts of shade, but in order to store the most food for themselves and provide for flower development, full sun is best.) Keep the foliage on the plants until it is withered, dried, and brown before removing it, as this keeps the bulb well-fed after blooming.
The browning of the buds that did appear could be due to disease that was exacerbated by weather. Similar symptoms appear on plants such as peonies and roses with flowers with high petal counts. Some daffodil flowers succumb to what is called "bud blast," though the American Daffodil Society lists several possible and mainly weather-related causes. This publication's first page mentions both bud blast and another possible cause - planting too shallowly: https://www.uaex.edu/yard-garden/plant-health-clinic/docs/2011_Plant_Health_Clinic_Newsletters/plant%20health%20clinic%20newsletter%203.pdf. If this was the case, we suggest letting these bulbs go dormant as usual this year and re-planting them this autumn. You can use a marking flag, stake, or other device to remember where the plants are located once they disappear for the summer.
Thank you very much! I suspect I didn't plant them deeply enough. Will dig them up and try again in the fall.
Have a great day!
You are welcome.