Late Season Daffodil Transplanting

brentlApril 18, 2012

This past weekend I was given several hundred daffodils. I was picking up some bulk compost and was told that I could have them free since if no one took them they would end up getting ground up and thrown into the pile. Naturally I threw them in the truck and took them home. It appears that these daffodils have already bloomed and I know this is not the right time to transplant them. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to best do this and if it is worth it? I would love to have a mass planting of daffodils in my front yard but I don't want to invest all that work in transplanting them only to watch them die. I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is zone 6B.


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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Definitely worth it! Get them planted as soon as possible at about the same depth as they were beforehand. Try not to disturb them any more than necessary, that means just plant them like you got them- (don't seperate clumps into single bulbs etc)

They will die down early this year and likely not bloom well next spring, but if you throw some of that bulk compost in when you plant or on top this fall, then they should do great in the following years.

Do you know if the bulbs were from a spring display? Or did someone just get tired of too many?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

(don't seperate clumps into single bulbs etc)
hmmm...Kato, what if they were big clumps' of bulbs that were dug and maybe discarded because they just didn't bloom 'much' anymore? Wouldn't you think that it would matter just how many bulbs and how big the bulbs were when considering separating them?

I would love to have a mass planting of daffodils in my front yard
Are you talking about a big mass planting in a bed or more naturalized as in growing in the grass? Remember, the foliage must be left on them so they will bloom the following year.

When planting them, I wouldn't crowd too many in a hole, or they will soon be overcrowded and not blooming for you.

Another thing you 'could' do, is to just spread them out somewhere in a shaded or protected area, and let the foliage die off on them. Once the foliage is pretty well gone, you can remove the rest, and store them in an airy place/way, and then plant them at the proper time in the fall in your area.

Good luck. I imagine the blooms for next year have been compromised by them being dug up too early, but they should recover and give you future years of enjoyment.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:01PM
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roxanna(z5b MA)

3 or 4 years ago, my son worked at Brandeis University. one day he saw hundreds of daffodils in a heap near his parking lot -- they'd just been dug up from the gardens there so new summer plants could be installed before graduation. he asked and was told to help himself. he brought me i don't know how many, he just loaded his station wagon full.

what a bonanza! not the optimum time to transplant, of course, and i didn't have time nor space to put them in the ground just then. so i filled many, many pots and two wheelbarrows and just shoveled soil on top of the bulbs, leaving the leaves exposed to mature. watered them when i thought of it. didn't fuss.

come fall, i knew where i wanted to put them, had DH dig several long trenches at the proper depth, and tucked those babies in. now i have long sweeps along my roadside that (right at this moment) look fabulous every spring. getting bigger, too.

amazing what some folk toss out on the compost. daffs will just get better and better over time, whyever remove them???! and nothing bothers them, critter-wise. i even plant them amongst my tastier bulbs/flowers to discourage the critters from eating them. the poisonous daffs do a good job keeping other things safe from munchers...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. Looks like I'll be planting them after all. I intend to plant them in a bed out front along my street. I don't know where they came from or why they were removed, but I'm glad to have them. Hopefully it will get done either this weekend or the next.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:25AM
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There is nothing that would suggest that next season's flowers would be compromised with these bulbs. Commercial plantings of daffodils and other spring bulbs are frequently removed after flowering and thrifty gardeners know that a prompt replanting and allowing the foliage to ripen and dry before removal will result in a stunning, free display the following spring.

Try not to disturb the roots excessively - that CAN be an impediment to successful replanting now and good blooms next spring. And it is best to plant them somewhere that stays somewhat dry over summer - they prefer to be quite droughty during their dormant period. Other than good drainage, I wouldn't worry much about soil conditions now - you can always fertilize early next spring as the new growth emerges.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:37PM
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