My Daffodil Bulbs aren't sprouting -are they dead?

fieldofflowers(3 or 4a)April 15, 2014

I planted some in the fall (remember my post about fighting the squirrels and rabbits, etc?) and I also had some I kept over winter in a foam container to protect from the squirrels. Those were fancier varieties. There were also some dwarf iris bulbs and some crocuses. I thought I finally got a set-up that didn't get totally dug up, chewed and left on the ground in pieces.

Anyways I found those in the container all mushy, moldy and dead. I'm confused. What happened? And the ones in the ground? Should I be digging up to do an autopsy? Is there still hope those will sprout? I'm suspecting since I see no signs of life that means they went too. :( I just wish I knew what happened. Is the area too shallow? Did they all get frostbit from the cold winter (in MN we had the coldest in 78 years) Too much snow? Too wet?

The whole flower bed only goes about one foot deep and shallower towards the center before hitting several large heavy hard plastic strips buried under the whole bed.

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What kind of potting mix did you use, how large is the container, since you call it a container did it have holes, where was the container sitting (exposure to the elements) etc.

There are many reasons for the loss of the ones in the container, but the ones in the ground may have a different condition. I'm not sure when they would, on average, come up in your area, but see what is coming up in your neighbors' yards. If their daffodils are coming up, and even starting to flower, then yes, possibly yours are overdue or gone also.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:55AM
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fieldofflowers(3 or 4a)

The ones in the container: Bare root in a paper bag. Sealed in a foam mailing box. They could have had a pathogen from storing in the fridge. It went through a malfunction and got up to 40 degrees in there and it also got wet. That likely did in some of the bulbs.

But the ones outside??? Soil conditions: loomy? Maybe a little sandy. A lot of soil has been added. Drainage - usually drains pretty well but can get saturated if there's a lot of rain or snow. I have seen it flooded but because it is so shallow, water drains or evaporates within a day or two. I'm a little concerned there might not have been enough depth for the bulbs or that they all got dug out. It didn't appear that way.

As far as neighbors: I can't tell. The downtown area doesn't seem to have any, but I see other things coming up in other areas like iris bulbs and dandelions.

This post was edited by fieldofflowers on Thu, Apr 17, 14 at 20:33

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:32PM
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fieldofflowers(3 or 4a)

Still no sign of life. I did get the bag of bulbs at a discount and there were some rotten bulbs in the bag. I thought I picked the firmest ones to plant and treated them. Could they have all been diseased before I planted them?

Would there be any hope if I tried planting some next year?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:55PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Daffodils in my climate are almost impossible to kill. They multiply all over my garden and I dig them up and just throw them on the top of the ground during the winter when it is the rainy season and they root them self. Some of the vineyard land in the Alexander Valley just to our north, has them lining the county road, very pretty when in bloom. Al

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:08AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

fieldofflowers - I'm sure you will have success next year if you actually plant the bulbs in the Autumn as they should be. I'm not quite following why you stored them loose in a bag all through the winter. They need to be planted at the appropriate time of year for best success even if you are going to plant in a container and keep it undercover until the spring. They still need to be in soil so they can start growing their roots.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:34AM
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fieldofflowers(3 or 4a)

@floral_uk : Because they were expensive fancy varieties (pink blooming?) and the squirrels were digging them out one by one and shredding them onto the ground. They also damaged my single bearded iris bulb that way. I thought I could salvage the ones the squirrels did not get and plant them later or into containers or force them to bloom indoors.

But that didn't work. The ones in the outdoor garden are the boring plain yellow ones. And I just checked today. They ARE sprouting after all! They must just be slower in that garden than other areas in the city.

Oh well, so much for fancy. Looks like fancy varieties + wildlife = fail. Boring and traditional = better chance of survival.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:49PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Bulbs in containers can be tricky to overwinter outdoors in cold climates, better luck next year in the ground, even with fighting the squirrels.
The color shouldn't matter too much, sometimes white trumpets are more likely to rot, but for the most part fancier types are just as hardy.
Glad to hear they're sprouting!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:28PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The problem was the storing unplanted in the bags, not the choiceness of the variety. 'Boring yellow' ones would have suffered the same fate. Next year if you plant them up into containers at the appropriate time of year and put the containers into a garage, shed or cool basement you stand a much greater chance of success. Planting daffodils in Spring can work but it is a last resort and unreliable. Autumn is the optimum time.

If you choose to try outdoor planting there are ways of protecting bulbs from squirrels, etc. If they are expensive it is worthwhile making wire cages for them. If you Google 'wire cages to protect bulbs' you will find a lot of information.

Don't give up on the 'fancy' varieties. They basically didn't stand a chance in those bags and I'm sure you will have success when you try again.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if your fall planted bulbs froze to death in your extreme winter. How cold did it get and for how long?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:37PM
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