Beautiful blooming flowers in your home give it a colorful, attractive appeal. Daffodils give off a cheery vibe, and many have learned how to grow them in vases to enjoy them indoors. It’s relatively easy, and you only need patience and a routine to ensure your daffodil bulbs stay healthy while they work to bloom.
Daffodils in a vase take approximately 12 to 15 weeks to bloom after the bulbs are pre-chilled. Pre-chilling bulbs takes about 13 weeks and is a crucial step to having healthy blooming plants. Choose big bulbs with no signs of decaying to ensure better quality blooms.
This article will explain what affects the blooming of daffodils, their bloom time, and how to care for them while growing and during dormancy.
What Affects Daffodils Blooming
When you’re growing daffodils in a vase indoors, it’s a bit easier since their climate is controlled. But you still need to provide essential care for your daffodils to grow healthy and bloom to their full potential. The entire care and growth process will affect your daffodils’ health and bloom time, which can take about three to six months.
Excellent quality bulbs and proper care contribute to you successfully growing healthy and happy blooming daffodils indoors.
The Size of Your Bulb Matters
Since growing daffodils from bulbs can take about six months, or more, from chilling to bloom, you don’t want to choose the wrong bulbs. Bigger bulbs without signs of decay produce healthier, fuller plants with better-quality blooms. Aside from the bulb size, ensure it’s firm with a proportional weight and no signs of mold or rot.
Bulb mold can be mild or invasive and should not be ignored while choosing bulbs. The mold can quickly spread to other bulbs and eventually cause them to rot. Mold usually occurs during bulb storage in the autumn and can be prevented mainly by ensuring they are stored in an area that is dry, cool, and dark.
That said, not all mold means grounds for dismissal when shopping for bulbs.
If a bulb has bluish-green or bluish-gray mold on the outside, that’s called blue mold, and it’s typically from penicillium fungi. As mentioned, this usually happens during storage in the autumn months and is frequently seen in bulbs that have sustained injury. Use a wet, sharp knife to cut away the area and apply a fungicide.
Other mold types should be tossed out to prevent contaminating other bulbs.
Often, mold is visible on the outermost layer of the bulb, but that’s not always the case, so thoroughly look over each bulb you purchase. Mold with brown, reddish, or purplish colors located close to the bulb’s base is a good indication of rot forming. The mold can also be white with brown spots and eventually cause rot, spreading throughout the bulb.
As already noted, rot may not always be visible on the outermost part of the bulb. Even a tiny, slightly mushy spot can indicate rot forming inside the bulb. Rot is caused by soil bacteria, pests, fungi, or growing conditions that are too wet and soggy.
Basal rot is a disease caused by fungi and bacteria that will stunt your plant’s growth or prevent it from growing entirely. It usually begins at the root plate at the bulb’s bottom. It will then spread throughout the bulb and cause it to feel mushy when touched.
Bulbs may also suffer from Crown rot. This is a soil-borne fungus that will contaminate the soil indefinitely, and any bulbs suffering crown rot should be immediately discarded.
Fungal rot can be dry or spongy with mold while bacterial rot is usually moist, foul-smelling, and mushy.
Bulbs that are injured are more susceptible to rot and mold.
Water and Sunlight
While your daffodils grow, keep the water clean and topped off for your roots to stay healthy. Your bulbs also need an area that’s bright with sunlight but should not sit directly in the sun. They should also get at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily.
Never submerge any part of the bulb in water, or it will start to rot.
After Bloom Care and Dormancy
After blooming, the leaves start to turn yellow and die off. If you cut the leaves too early, the bulb will not properly rebuild itself to produce blooms for the following season. Instead, you’ll end up with a blind daffodil that doesn’t produce flowers. So, make sure you only cut back the leaves that have already turned yellow.
Bulbs must be dormant for a certain period of time to remain healthy and bloom the following season.
What It Takes To Grow Daffodils in a Vase
Before grabbing your vase and water, you’ll need to chill your daffodil bulbs to manipulate the inside embryo to break dormancy. This process is called forcing bulbs, and if you skip this step, you risk the bulb bottom rotting once you place it in a vase with water. Spring bulbs, like daffodils, need to experience dormancy to stay healthy and continue blooming year after year.
Many gardening stores sell pre-chilled bulbs, so it’s best to ask when making your purchase.
The Pre-Chill Stage
Like many other spring bulbs, daffodils go through dormancy during the winter chill, giving the bulb time to prepare for the next blooming season.
You need to trick your bulbs by providing a colder environment to mimic a winter chill. If you buy pre-chilled bulbs, you won’t have to worry about doing this step. But if they aren’t, you’ll have to complete this step before placing them in a growing vase.
Buying pre-chilled bulbs will cut the blooming time in half, and you’ll have blooming daffodils in approximately three months.
One way to pre-chill your bulbs is to place them in a paper bag with small holes and store them in the refrigerator vegetable bin. Another way is to set up your bulbs in a vase with water and put them in the refrigerator. Either way, the bulbs will need to go through a chilled dormancy in the fridge for about 13 weeks.
If your bulb is already set up in a vase, you may notice roots and shoots forming after several weeks of being in the refrigerator.
Caring for Your Daffodils
Now comes the fun part; watching your bulbs grow strong and healthy!
Once you’ve completed your pre-chill stage, you can remove your bulbs from the refrigerator and prepare them for their warmer environment as follows:
- If you chilled your bulbs in a paper bag, take them out and place them in a vase.
- Fill the vase about halfway with decorative rocks for your bulb to sit on.
- Place your bulb root side down, pointy side up on the top layer of rock.
- Fill the vase with water close to the rock surface, just shy of touching your bulb.
The water needs to be close enough to the rock surface to encourage root growth without the bulb being submerged in water.
You can also grow your bulbs in a forcing vase or bulb jar. These are uniquely shaped glass pieces that hold a bulb above the water level. It provides enough space below the bulb to grow a healthy root system. To do this:
- Place your vase in a cool and dark or low-lit area for a few weeks for the bulbs to transition and grow healthy roots and shoots.
- When the bulbs establish a healthy root system with leaves, move your vase to a warmer location with much more sunlight for them to continue growing.
- Keep your daffodils happy by topping off the water and changing it at least once a week, making sure to keep the water level from touching the bulb’s base.
- Remember to keep an eye on your bulbs during growth to ensure they remain healthy with no signs of rot.
It will take approximately 12 to 15 weeks for your daffodils to bloom. Depending on the growing environment and cultivar, daffodils have a bloom time of six weeks to six months. When growing them indoors, it’s easier to control certain factors like light, nutrients, and temperature to maximize bloom time.
Once the bloom time ends, your daffodil bulbs will prepare to go dormant to rebuild for the next blooming season.
Daffodils With Longer Bloom Times
As mentioned before, some daffodil blooms last up to six months, depending on the growing environment and cultivar.
These are a few of the popular daffodil cultivars with longer-lasting bloom times.
You can also optimize bloom time by mixing up a few different types to have blooms from late winter to late fall!
How To Care for Daffodil Bulbs Post Bloom
When your daffodils have finished blooming, the bulbs will begin to prepare for dormancy, and the leaves will start to yellow.
This crucial time will indicate whether your daffodils will bloom the following year. As such,
- You’ll need to keep your daffodils watered as the leaves start to die. Once the leaves have yellowed, you can cut them back to prepare the bulbs for dormancy.
- Only cut back the leaves after they turn yellow, or your bulb will not produce a flower the following year.
- If new shoots are coming through, that’s fine; leave them.
- Once the bulbs are cut back, you’ll need to store them in a cool, dry, and dark place until you start the chilling process again.
Growing daffodils indoors brings a cheery, attractive look to your home. It’s relatively easy to grow them in a vase with just water. The vital step to remember is to ensure your daffodil bulbs receive the proper amount of chill time to allow the bulbs to go dormant and rebuild for the upcoming season.
The entire process takes about six months. If your bulbs are already pre-chilled, it will cut the time to about three months before you enjoy those blooms. Depending on the cultivar, daffodils have a bloom time that can last anywhere from six weeks to six months.
If you want to learn more about how to grow daffodils indoors, you can check out my other article here: How To Care for Daffodils Indoors (Complete Guide)