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Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

Posted by donnabaskets 7b-8 MS (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 13, 10 at 16:48

Because my soil is so heavy, I tend to plant daffodils more shallowly than usually recommended. I dug some clumps that were only 3 years old this year and the clumps are huge. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a hundred or more small (quite small) bulbs all clumped together in each group! Yet, you would not have known it from their bloom performance. Could this be caused by too shallow planting? I intend to divide and replant. The soil where I am putting them is well amended, as was the area where I dug them up, so do you think I'd be better off to plant more deeply?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

From my experience, some daffodils multiply faster than others. A clump would bloom well for at least 6 - 7 years. By then, if they are not split, their bloom size tends to slowly decline then they stop blooming altogether.

I don't know if planting depth had anything to do with what you discovered. But I would try to plant them as deep as I can. Those little ones may take a couple years to bloom. They'll grow bigger eventually and thrive for a while again...and the cycle begins.

RE: Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

I don't think planting depth had a role. Most of my daffodils I did not plant, they spread over large areas and seek their own depth. As long as they get full sun they seem to be happy and bloom well. Mostly when I dig them up it is because they are taking over a bed I would rather use for something else. Al

RE: Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

My early flowering Narcissus - the paperwhites and jonquils (as some of us term them) - are just like Al's: leave them alone and they'll dig their own ways to a comfortable depth.

However, I also have some which don't have that 'digger instinct'. They perch near the top of the soil and relentlessly form daughter bulbs, lots of leaves, and very few flowers.

Earlier this year I had a clump of 'Baby Moon' in a pot, looking innocent. I tipped them out and discovered (gulp) about sixty bulblings (they were too small to be bulblets) in a six inch pot. Two years, from three bulbs... It looked like a mass of Muscari.

I would definitely try planting the splitters deeper - after I had picked out the plumpest and most juicy bulbs from the clump. You could pot up or plant out the remainder in your propagation garden if they're well-loved, obviously. Bulb top maybe three to four inches down.

If your climate permits - pile on the mulch or good compost in autumn to about two-three inches, in case they've squirmed up again.

RE: Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

You two are helping me put several things together here. The ones that made these huge clumps are, without exception, jonquils. Good to know this is normal. They were not working their way out of the ground, but I have observed that phenomena in un-amended clay. Year before last, I dug up hundreds of tete a tetes that had piled on top of one another and they bloomed the first spring, as if to thank me for putting them into better quarters.

As it happens all these extras are a blessing, as I am landscaping a new parking strip at our church. As many as there are, they will probably be a drop in the bucket!
Thanks so much you two. You are a fountain of knowledge!

RE: Daffodil clumps bigger than the size of softballs.

Yesterday I dug an area 6x6 feet which I had planted about 20 King Alfred daffodils about 10 years ago. These I had moved from a location too shady for them to bloom. My soil is a heavy clay with generous amounts of rocks. The dug area has been used for various annuals growing on top of the dormant Daffodils. Only about the top four inches showed any signs of the compost that had been added with the annuals over the years, deeper the sticky clay was full of daffodils and rocks. All the bulbs were between 4 and 8 inches deep. They filled a five gallon paint bucket, with very few being too small to bloom. The area is watered with mini-sprinklers in the dry California summers and was quite wet with no sign of any bulbs rotting. Al

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