Daffodils are one of the most easily recognized plants on the planet, thanks to their distinctive yellow flowers and early-stage bulbs. Although the plant is typically a symbol of resilience and fresh beginnings in some cultures, daffodils can be toxic to humans and many animals. It’s no surprise that many gardeners are hesitant to plant edibles alongside their daffodil bulbs.
You can plant vegetables over daffodil bulbs. While daffodil bulbs are toxic, vegetables such as lettuce, kale, and spinach can be grown over the bulbs and consumed safely. The most important thing is to avoid mixing the vegetables with daffodil bulbs when harvesting.
It’s not unusual to be careful about planting vegetables with daffodils; in fact, Public Health England issued warnings about keeping them alongside food way back in 2015. But as long as you correctly grow only suitable vegetables, you can rest easy. Keep reading to learn what vegetables are perfect for your daffodils and how to plant them over their bulbs.
What Vegetables Can You Plant Over Daffodil Bulbs?
Companion agriculture is not a new invention, and the practice has always been a great way to make the most of farmland while capitalizing on the benefits of all the plants you’ve grown.
Planting vegetables over your daffodils will protect the bulbs and young leaves. Daffodils are famous for being hardy, but their bulbs can easily damage if you do not care for them properly. Of course, the daffodils will also improve the overall aesthetics of your garden while attracting pollinators with their brightly colored flowers.
Although most people prefer to pair their daffodils with other flowers, there’s nothing wrong with planting vegetables over the buds. You can plant all kinds of vegetables over daffodil bulbs without any problems.
Some of the best vegetables to plant over daffodil bulbs include:
- Swiss chard
Although all vegetables make great daffodil companions, I’d steer clear of allium varieties like onions and garlic. While the daffodil bulbs won’t affect these bulb-forming vegetables, there’s a chance you or someone less experienced might accidentally mix them up.
Eating daffodils can result in slight stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea. A rule of thumb is to avoid planting vegetables that look like any part of daffodils, especially the bulbs. This way, you don’t have to worry about your kid or friend taking a bite out of the wrong plant.
The next section of this article discusses the best vegetables you can plant over daffodil bulbs and why they make such great companions:
Lettuces (Lactuca sativa) are reasonably popular annual plants. They’re typically grown for their leaves, but some people use their stems and seeds as food. Lettuces are great companion plants for daffodils and will help protect their bulbs from harsh environmental conditions.
They’re pretty easy vegetables to plant, and you don’t need a lot of tools or technical knowledge to incorporate them into your daffodil garden. Lettuces are also fast-growing, and you can harvest them as soon as 4 weeks after you’ve planted them.
These features are why lettuces are a favorite among foodscapes and amateur gardeners. You can also add them to your garden immediately after planting the daffodil bulbs since both plants are fall-planted.
Kale is another fall-planted vegetable grown for its juicy and nutritious leaves. Kale (Brassica oleracea) has very moderate growing requirements, meaning you can focus most of your efforts on the success of your daffodils without worrying too much about the plant. It also grows in a pretty short time.
Although kale is cruciferous, the plant still has many practical uses in your garden apart from food. The plant is also exceptionally hardy, and the cold cannot affect its development.
Since its debut as a mineral-rich crop in the 1930s, spinach has become popular in American and English homes. Today, it’s essentially impossible to visit a grocery store that doesn’t have fresh or frozen spinach in stock—and with good reason. After all, they’re easy to grow, make great companions for plants like daffodils, and make great food.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) are leafy green vegetables that complement daffodil bulbs just as well as lettuce plants. They also grow at about the same rate as lettuce, and you can harvest spinach 6 to 10 weeks after you plant them.
However, you can only grow them in the fall or late winter because these vegetables don’t do well in hot weather.
You can also plant celery (Apium graveolens) over daffodil bulbs in your garden. It typically takes 20 weeks for the celery plant to mature, so I recommend starting their seeds at least 10 weeks before planting the daffodil bulbs. This time is enough for the celery’s transplanting time to coincide with the optimal planting time for daffodil bulbs.
Farmers mainly grow celeries for their edible stems, but other parts of the plant have some benefits. Celeries are ideal companion vegetables for daffodils since they require the same care and do not resemble themselves enough to result in confusion or dangerous accidents during harvest. Celery can also regrow itself several years in a row.
It typically takes 10 to 12 weeks for Swiss chard to be ready for harvest. The plant is related to beetroot and is one of the four popular varieties of Beta vulgaris, plants famous for their juicy leaves and edible stems. Swiss chards are as hardy as daffodils and will be ready for harvest around the time daffodils bloom.
Of course, this depends on the daffodils you have in your garden. However, the bulbs can still benefit from the cover the chards provide. Ensure you take care when harvesting the Swiss chards so they do not hurt the daffodils.
You can plant broccoli in the spring or fall, and the plants will be ready for harvest in 10 to 14 weeks. These cruciferous plants make suitable companions for daffodils, and you can rest assured there’ll be no chance of accidentally eating the bulbs since they do not look like the toxic bulbs in any way.
I recommend you plant broccoli at the first sign of fall so you can harvest them in the middle of fall.
Cucumbers are famous for their juicy fruits, but they’re technically vegetables that grow extensive stems that tend to be as rough as they are succulent. Cucumbers also have hairy leaves that provide excellent cover for daffodils without harming them.
You may need to use supports if you’re planting cucumbers over daffodil bulbs so that the plant grows high enough not to squash the young bulbs.
Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are long-growing plants, and you can harvest them 7 to 10 weeks after planting. The cucumber fruits do not ripen all at once, so you’ll need to inspect the garden often to pick them. Pick them before they turn bitter from exposure and ensure they do not fall off the vines and squash the daffodils.
How to Plant Vegetables Over Daffodils
It’s not a strange practice to grow vegetables and other edible plants over ornamental plants like daffodils. The approach, sometimes called foodscaping, combines the rudiments of vegetable gardening with the complexities of ornamental gardening to create lush gardens that contain edible crops.
Growing vegetables with ornamental plants isn’t tough, and anyone can do it in a garden of any size.
Here are steps to follow to plant vegetables over daffodils:
Select a Suitable Site
You must first ensure the site can support both the daffodils and the vegetables you plan on growing. Thankfully, most of the vegetables I’ve mentioned in this article thrive in conditions favorable to daffodils, so go for locations with sufficient sunlight, space, and access to clean water.
Choose Vegetables to Plant
Next, decide which vegetable you’d like to plant over the daffodil bulbs. It’s a great idea to plan to make sure to do all the right things before introducing the vegetable into your garden. For example, you may need to plant some vegetables alongside the daffodils or wait for a while with other vegetables.
Plant the Bulbs in the Soil
Plant large and healthy daffodil bulbs in the soil. You’ll need to plant the bulbs deep into the ground. Place them at least 4 inches (10 cm) in the soil to ensure they stay viable and flourish.
To ensure the bulbs grow, I recommend using bulb fertilizer.
Cover the Soil
Then, you’ll cover the soil and prepare to plant the vegetables. If you plan on adding the vegetables immediately, you can plant them in the ground before you cover the earth. Ensure you space out all the plants appropriately so they do not compete for resources.
Plant the Vegetable Seeds or Seedlings
The last step is adding the vegetable seeds or seedlings to the garden. The planting depth depends on what vegetable you’re adding to the garden, but be sure there’s enough space between the plants. You should also be especially careful not to accidentally pull out the daffodil bulbs when adding the vegetables.
You can harvest the vegetables as usual, but I recommend you work with vegetables that mature before or after the daffodils bloom if you’re inexperienced.
Planting vegetables over daffodil bulbs is easy, and you can do it without worrying about being harmed by toxic daffodil bulbs. However, planting is only one part of the process, and you’ll need to continuously monitor and tend the garden to ensure the plants flourish.
Don’t worry. It’s not as much work as it seems, and you will be rewarded with a beautiful garden filled with delicious vegetables if you follow the directions in this article.