Necessary to dig up daffodils every year?

LadyLatitude(8b)October 14, 2011

Hi there!

I'm new to growing bulbs, and I've got about 20 daffodil bulbs I got a garage sale for just a few dollars. A few were light weight and "dude-like" but most are hefty in weight, and I just get the sense that they're going to be beautiful. The seller said they were "mixed yellow" whatever that means.

I'd like to plant them in the front yard which faces east. My question is why should anyone dig up their daffodils after the foliage dies down? Is it because it gets too hot? Why not just leave them in the ground? If so many people dig them up, there must be a reason, but I can't figure it out.

Any other daffodil advice for a newbie is welcome too!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

After a number of years in one place, good naturalizing bulbs will multiply and "choke" themselves off. When you notice that they are not blooming as well, you then dig them, divide them, and replant. Thus, multiplying the number of plants you have. That is the only reason I can think of to dig them up, IF you are planting bulbs that are suitable to your location. As far south as you are, many bulbs, especially those that are "multi purpose" ones sold by the Big Box stores will not get enough winter chill to come back and rebloom year after year.

For more information, I highly recommend the book "Garden Bulbs for the South" by Scott Ogden. Here in my Mississippi garden, I plant only the ones he recommends. He has never steered me wrong.

"Mixed Yellow" probably means that there is more than one variety of bulb, but that all of their blooms, which may be of different sizes, are yellow (as opposed to white).

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 2:51PM
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LadyLatitude, I'm in the same zone as you though further north on the coast, and we get just cold enough in winter for them to know what to do. I've never dug up a daff, and they always come back, though as donna said they should be separated when they've multiplied too many times.

I'd say you're fine not digging them up. And check out some of the less common varieties. Personally I dislike standard daffodils, but love the newer, fluffier versions that are around. They're all easy to grow and seem reliable, plus deer/squirrels leave them alone. :)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

They chill fine here, central AL, just N of FL border. There are many kinds, and most can be left alone for decades. If they come back once, they'll be back every year. Sometimes people just get tired of certain plants or color combos and change their gardens around.

Some daffs/narcissus have a foul odor, like decomposition. Smell them well before you decide to cut any and bring them inside.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone! I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens come spring time. I decided it would be best to plant them in the backyard which faces west because the front yard doesn't get too much sun. I read they need full sunlight, right?

Thanks for the book recommendation Donnabaskets! I love Scott Ogden's "Gardening Success with Difficult Soils" So I've already ordered the one you mentioned. Do you grow lots of bulbs? Would you by chance have pictures to share?

I think I'll definitely leave them in the ground for a few years. Of course, this is assuming they do well! lol!

If I had to guess, I'd say they are from a Big Box store. So, this means they may not do well. I've come to terms with that. However, it can get pretty darn cold here in Austin, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 4:04PM
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I bought mine in the Big Box store and they are doing just fine. Planted some early last year and some in the fall. The ones I planted early bloomed last "winter" here and the ones I planted in the fall bloomed early spring this year. They are just beginning to poke up out of the ground and they look good and healthy. I did water during our drought and this caused my rain-copper lilies to sprout where I thought they had died. Looking forward to a good bloom again this year. I have bought some before like they said nothing came for those and they died without ever even sprouting. These are the small yellow and white blooms

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 9:00PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Hi, everyone. I haven't checked in in awhile as I have been planting pansies. Next week it's off to our annual VanZyverden bulb sale to stock up on tulips! This, of course, is an annual pilgrimage since they are pulled up and discarded after their bloom time in the spring.

Yes, Lady, I do grow quite alot of bulbs, now that I think about it. Over the years, they have become pretty near the top of my favorites list. I have LOTS of daffodils and that population keeps growing every year between adding new varieties and dividing the clumps I have in the yard. I particularly like jonquils, so have lots of those. My second favorite would be zephyranthes (rain lilies) closely followed by crinums. In addition I love Dutch Iris, hyacinths, ipheion, camassia, byzantine glads, amaryllis, arum, spanish bluebells, leucojums, oxalis, eucomis, canna, crocosmia, lycoris, and oxblood lilies.

I have tried numerous others over the years, but the ones that are listed are the ones that have persisted and multiplied for me. Well, not the hyacinths, but everything else. :)

I hope your bulbs are a huge success for you. Daffodils were my very first bulbs to ever plant. I got my first ones from my beautician. I admired them, so she walked outside and dug up part of a clump for me. That was more than twenty years ago and I still have some of the progeny from that handfull of treasure she gave me. Nothing in my garden gives more pleasure for less effort than bulbs.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 10:07PM
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