General gardening topics

How to plant daffodil bulbs

Last updated on March 15th, 2022

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Daffodil bulbs will do best if they are planted between September and November in soil that is well-drained. Planting Daffodil bulbs in your garden requires that you find a spot with full sun or partial shade so that they can thrive. You don’t want them to grow anywhere that has bad drainage, total shade, or is in close proximity to a south-facing wall because such temperatures in the soil would likely become far too hot for the bulbs, so this is just something to be aware of.

When to Plant

When you plant daffodil bulbs they should be planted at twice the depth of the bulb itself so, an average of 15-20cm below the surface of the soil (depending on the size of the bulbs) and a similar spacing of 15-20cm apart if you are placing them next to one another. Even if you are planting miniature daffodils the rules still apply that you plant them at twice the depth of the actual bulb, although the distance apart is approximately 15cm apart.

Planting Daffodil Bulbs

Daffodils do very well in borders or containers and they are equally well-suited to naturalising in grass. In fact, you can grow them along banks, lawn edges, or hedgerows.

planting daffodils

Read our review on the best long-handled bulb planters to make planting bulbs easier.

Speed up your bulb planting by using a bulb auger with a drill – read my guide on this here.

Planting daffodils under grass

If you are growing large quantities of daffodils in grass or other natural areas, one of the fastest and easiest methods is to use a spade to lift up large pieces of turf, place the bulbs underneath, and then place the turf right back down in its original spot.

planting daffodils in pots

Planting daffodils in pots

Daffodil bulbs can be grown in planters or pots as long as you make sure there is adequate drainage. One way to assist with not only drainage but air circulation is to add pieces of broken pottery or small rocks to the bottom of the container. If planting in containers use multi-purpose compost and be sure to water thoroughly and place the container in a cool area until the leaves start to show.

When you are planting in containers you can place the bulbs closer to one another you just have to be mindful of any touching. You just don’t want the sides of the container to touch the bulbs nor do you want the bulbs to touch one another, which means resisting the temptation to plant as many bulbs in a pot as possible.

Overwintering bulbs in pots

Over winter you can protect your bulbs against severe frost by covering them with bubble wrap or bringing them indoors into a shed or garage or cold greenhouse, a feat made significantly easier if grown in containers.

With most daffodil varieties you can expect flowers to manifest between February and March and they are usually some of the first spring-flowering bulbs to flower.


Regular care after you have planted is equally important. If you want to encourage annual growth with your bulbs, you need to allow the leaves to die back in a natural fashion, letting them die back for as long as possible before you cut them off because this puts goodness back into the bulbs.

You can lift the bulbs between June and August, and you can store them in a cool and dry place until it is time to replant them in the autumn. You can leave them planted and they often do just fine, however, sometimes they can rot over winter if the soil gets waterlogged.

caring for daffodils bulbs after flowering

Feeding daffodils

It is recommended that you apply a potash heavy fertiliser either in the autumn or the end of spring when the nutrient levels have been reached by the soil and are in desperate need of a little pick-me-up. 

Why your Daffodils Might not be Flowering

Daffodil Blindness

If you have planted your daffodils and you notice the leaves have grown successfully but you don’t have any flowers this is referred to as daffodil blindness. The most common reason for this is that the bulb was not planted deeply enough in the soil when they were first planted, the bulbs were planted too closely together, or the bulbs simply required extra feeding.

If you keep track of how deeply you planted them you can verify whether you planted in accordance with the variety you selected, the same with how close together you planted them.

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