My daffodils didn't bloom.. What could be the issue?

minjikimleeApril 4, 2013

Hi everyone -

We moved into the house fall of 2011, and spring 2012 comes around, we saw a lot of daffs foilage come up in the front garden flower bed (South facing, plenty of sun) in clusters. One large cluster had no flowers at all - not even buds. Other small cluster had two flowers, when it looked like it should have close to 10. I am a total newbie, and after some research, I decided to wait a year because I suspected the foilage might have been cut too early prior year? So I let them brown on their own during 2012. I also thought they might have been too clustered, so I divided them into less crowded clusters in the same area in early October 2012 and mulched, etc. I left the small cluster alone.

This spring, foilage on the small cluster came up earlier and thicker and that one flowered much better! It looks great! But the large cluster that had no flower or bud last year that I divided, same result. Lots of foilage but nothing else. Foliage for this cluster is thinner than the other one that has flowers, but they seem to be full length foliage, looks healthy, etc.

I am suspecting couple of things, but not exactly sure what the issue could be and what I should do... I am a total newbie so all these are speculations based on research of course.

1) Maybe the bulbs are not mature enough to flower/send out buds? When I dig some of them up last fall, they did look smaller than the ones you see at the garden center. Some of them like a size of a garlic clove some bigger. If so, do I need to leave them in the groupd a couple more years to see them flower anything?
2) Are they planted to shallow and keep dividing without being able to mature? Should I replant again in the fall to the deeper depth?
3) Do I need to fertilize them? 5-10-5 seems to be the right way to go for daffs?

I have no idea if they flowered prior to 2011. Would I be What do you think? Do I have a solution here, or just dig them up and plant new ones?


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Since the area they're growing in sounds successful, the bulbs will grow and do fine with time. But separate clusters into individual bulbs, replant, water in until foliage withers. Each bulb needs space. 2-3 years +/- needed for these bulbs to mature and flower. If you have lots of leftovers give to friends and explain that it will take time to see flowers.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 9:53AM
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Nancy zone 6

Maybe a late flowering variety? I have many later flowering daffs that haven't bloomed yet. Plus I added some last fall that just haven't bloomed yet, even though some are mid season & even 1early bloomer. My latest flowering daffs are Twin Sisters, & I often give up on them blooming, they are so much later.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:17AM
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I am not sure what kind of variety it is since I never saw it flower! We will see, but there are no buds at all though. Could that come up significantly after the foliage has come up?

Should I separate them into individual bulbs now or wait till the fall? Would it matter? Guidance seems to be that I plant them twice as deep as its own length (6 in hole for 2 in bulb) - would that be a good start? 4-6 inches between each bulb sounds good?

I have a large garden with not many things planted (previous owner was not a gardener for sure!), so I should have plenty of places to plant them even if I have some extras!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:54PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Do not dig bulbs now. Wait until the foliage begins to yellow. At that point you can dig and store the bulbs for September planting or replant immediately. In my zone roots begin in August and there's a huge root mass by Sept. (found this out accidently).

Foliage first, buds next.

Sounds like the soil is depleted. Your 5-10-5 fertilizer sounds great. I also like to dig in bonemeal when prepping a new bulb area. It supplies phosphorus in future years.

PS: new roots can be burned by contact with fresh granular fertilizer so dig it in. I also put an inch or two of soil over the fertilized soil with the bulbs on top of that.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Nancy zone 6

My very late daffs are not showing sign of any buds yet, the foliage has been up for some time now. There is still time. I mentioned Twin Sisters, it blooms the latest of all my daffs & I don't expect to see signs of buds for a while yet.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:49AM
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Hey mk they always tell you to wait until the plant starts to die before you separate them but I separated some that were in my yard (they were also here when we bought our house & didn't bloom last year) when they 1st started coming up and they're in pots doing just fine. In fact I even got a few blooms from them so I'm not sure if it matters or not & I have a tendency to be a little bit impatient. I have another similar group that I was just debating on heading out and separating right now.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Nancy zone 6

If you wait til the foliage starts to yellow, you will get more blooms next year. A few daff varieties are stronger & can handle being divided early & may bloom anyway, but others can sulk.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:50AM
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I have no problem waiting till foliage yellows to be safe! Plenty of other garden tasks for me to attend to other than that... Can I go ahead when it starts to yellow, or wait till it is all yellow? I will probably replant it right away at that point... They actually need to be moved anyways, because I am redesigning that part of the garden..

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Nancy zone 6

I usually divide when there is still some green, just because I am more likely to be in the mood then. I tend to forget when they get completely yellow, mine have bloomed just fine the following year. I read somewhere that you should really store them til fall to replant, but I always replant right away. Otherwise I may find bulbs tucked away after a year or so, too late to replant.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Sounds like a good idea! Last year when I replanted, I missed some of them because the foliage was so yellow and some already has fallen off. I will plan to do that! Thanks for the advises!

Hopefully I get blooms next year, or the year after that :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Some of my "problem" bulbs are sending up flower buds now! I wonder if they will have some blooms?!?!? Maybe they were late bloomers? We will see!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Nancy zone 6

Sounds like they are late ones, let us know what they look like when they bloom!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 6:33PM
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They didn't bloom and it looks like they won't.... I was excited that they might for a bit!!!! Many of the did shoot up flower buds but they never bloomed and now they are browning and drying up.. Foliage still looks ok though... I don't know!

Maybe I just need to replant them once the leaves brown with some food??

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:18AM
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