Daffodils - when to separate them

pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)April 14, 2011

I'm looking at all my lovely, dense clumps of daffodils that are about to flower, and I know I have to dig them up and separate them for next year. When should this be done? If in October, how do I find them? Put markers in the ground?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what kind of daff???

those used for naturalizing .. shouldnt need to be dug up ...

one thing for sure.. after bloom ... they need to store energy for next year.. you do not dig them up ... until the foliage is browning .. showing that the plant is in dormancy ...

at that point they could be dug and stored for fall planting.. or planted for storage .... the problem with putting them in the garage until fall .. is that all too often ... you find them 5 or 6 falls later.. lol ...

yes.. marking the location helps .... in case you lose track of reality at the prime time ...

i think you need an ID , but have provided a link for you ... not quite terse .. but eventually gets to the point ....

are you sure they are so crowded ... that ruining your nice grouping is requisite???


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 1:46PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I dig mine when the foliage is faded and I replant immediately. Been doing it for years and years.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 5:59AM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I agree with lacey, I grow tons of daffs, wait until the foliage turns brown then dig them up, and replant immediately.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:29AM
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Well, I was interested to see what people said. I may have screwed up big time, but I took a chance and dug mine immediately after flowering, left the green on, and replanted them within minutes (had already dug the hole). I tried not to damage the roots. Guess I'll see what happens next spring.

*I did know you're supposed to wait. I've got them interplanted with some shrubs that are cut back now, but they'll be up by then, and it would be a lot less simple to do the moving.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 5:48PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

"I know I have to dig them up and separate them for next year." As Ken said, you don't HAVE to dig them up. Only if you want to spread them around more or if they have stopped flowering well due to overcrowding. It's not something you need to do every year. I am sure yours will be fine providing you keep them watered if it doesn't rain. I have often moved daffodils in the green. I put in a few yesterday which I had got from someone last weekend. Same with bulbs which have been grown indoors. All my tete a tete daffodils and hyacinths in the garden started life as forced bubs inside. Just stuck in the garden when they had finished flowering without waiting for the leaves to die down.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 5:49AM
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terrene(5b MA)

No doubt the ideal time to transplant and divide these would be after the foliage dies back. Putting markers in the ground is a good idea. However, to be honest I have dug up and transplanted/divided/given away Daffodils whenever it was convenient - before blooming, during blooming, after blooming. Actually during blooming is my favorite because I can see what the blooms look like. Most of these varieties are very hardy, they aren't bothered by critters, and they come back fine.

This treatment might compromise flowering some, but not that I've noticed. Probably because the previous owner planted so many Daffodil bulbs everywhere and I've spent several years moving them out of the middle of the lawn or the Vinca minor or dense shade (where they'll bloom poorly), and planting them into the garden beds or along the house foundation.

A little bulb fertilizer when you divide is a good idea!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 8:29AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Daffs are extremely tough and don't ever need anything done to them unless, like said above, you want to spread them around your property. Daffs are often the last evidence of where a home site used to be, long after the last board has decomposed, the daffs will still be there. I think they only way you could kill them would be to dig them up & then not put them back into the dirt somewhere.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 10:08AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

They are very tough. I have dug mine and divided up the clumps even during bloom. You do not have to wait. Some do slow down blooming if not lifted and separated after a few years.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 11:13AM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

They say you don't ever have to divide daffodils. But I have one patch 20 years old and there are 30 sets of leaves and only 4 flowered this year. I am digging them up to see what the bulbs look like!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:21AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

yardenman - I didn't say 'don't ever...'. What I wrote was precisesly what you have found. '... if they have stopped flowering well due to overcrowding.' My point was that you do not have to separate them as a matter of course, only if there is a reason.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:45AM
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pam_whitbyon(6 Niagara)

I really do have to separate mine - I wasn't the original planter but based on the ages (and neglect) of other things in the garden, I'm guessing they have been in the ground for 10-12 years without being divided. The flowers aren't small but the clumps look too crowded.

I'm happy to hear it can be done after the foliage dies, rather than in October when there's no evidence left as to where they were! Now I have no excuse :)

Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:25PM
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I have groups of daffs that I planted as individual bulbs 20 some years ago, naturalized in the woods, and the clumps have gotten so big that the bulbs are actually piled up on top of the ground. Every year I dig a few out and spread them around, and I have literally gotten hundreds of bulbs of varying sizes from just one clump. They don't bloom very well anymore if they are too crowded.

I dig them just after the foliage has turned brown, while I can still find them easily, and replant immediately. A few overgrown clumps can easily yield a thousand or more bulbs, and I find myself planting three to five in a single hole and when I get tired of that, dumping the rest on any unsuspecting visitor to my garden! ("Ooh, daffodil bulbs? Really? I can have them?")

While I love to see them come up and bloom in my beds, the growing leaves when the flowers are gone can get over two feet tall and large clumps will flop and smother emerging perennials nearby (even hostas). I use cut-down tomato cages and one foot tall circles of 4x4 fence wire to keep them upright until the foliage fades. Then I dig them up when the clumps get too big and down in the woods they go!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 5:57AM
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