Daffodil Daft

Nothing says Spring like a glorious bunch of daffodils and acccording to the experts, there are over 13,000 distinct daffodil varieties in existence.

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They are indeed glorious in your garden in the ground, in pots or growing along the roadside in verges or fields. Some gardeners find daffodil leaves to be a bit messy looking though after the flowers are gone. So what do you do neaten them up: cut them in half, bend them over and tie them together? No!!!

Daffodil leaves should not be cut back until after they have turned yellow. Daffodils use their leaves to harness sunlight to create energy, which is then transfered to the bulb and used to create next year’s flower. If you cut back daffodils before the leaves have turned yellow, the daffodil bulb will not produce a flower next year. This also explains why daffodils should be planted in bright sunlight. If your daffodils like the ones below, are planted in partial or full shade and they don’t produce big, healthy blooms, you might want to dig them and move them to a sunnier location after the foliage dies down.

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After daffodils have flowered it is a good idea to dead head them, otherwise the energy goes into seed production rather than into the bulb for next year’s flowers. Just nip off the dead flower head as you would deadhead any other flower.

If the dying daffodil foliage really annoys you, you have several choices. If you have daffodils in pots, move the pot to an out-of-the-way position, maybe beside a shed. If the pot they are in is a decorative one and you would like to use it for some other flowers, then carefully tip out the daffodil foliage and bulbs and set them in another pot to let them complete the dying back process. Think ahead for next year and set the daffodils in a smaller pot which can easily slip in and out of the larger, decorative pot.

If those dying daffodils are planted in your borders, you can do some strategic planting to hide the daffodil leaves until they die back. Growing plants in front of or alongside daffodils which grow and bloom slightly later will help hide the leaves. So you could plant hardy geraniums just in front or to the side of your daffodils as they are just now starting to grow and spread. Other perennials like lupins or hostas leaf up quickly once they start to come back for the season and so will hide the dying daffodil leaves.

Remember: daffodil leaves should be allowed to die back naturally until they are at least yellow if not completely dead, before being removed which should take around 6 weeks. Do also deadhead the flower to prevent it going to seed.

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