What To Do With Daffodils When They’re Done Blooming?

Daffodils can grace any garden with beautiful yellow, white, or orange flowers, with some varieties having a long blooming period from as early as late winter to as late as early fall. They typically bloom longer in regions with a temperate climate. So, what do you do with your daffodils after the flowering season?

When your daffodils are done blooming, you should continue watering your daffodils as usual. Refrain from pruning or cutting back your plants after the flowering season for at least six weeks as they prepare for next year’s blooms.

Although some plants can benefit from pruning soon after the blooming season, you may want to hold it off with your daffodils. This article will discuss the processes that daffodils go through and how to take care of them once they have bloomed.

What Happens to Daffodils When They’re Done Blooming?

When they’re done blooming, daffodils collect water, nutrients, and sunlight for the next six weeks or more to generate food for their bulbs. How well and how much food they can store during this time can determine how abundant their blooms will be next spring.

Depending on your region or the type of daffodils you have, the blooms may last throughout spring to as late as early fall. Typically, though, they will start fading early in the summer.

By the end of the flowering season, you will notice a significant decline in the appearance of the leaves.

Some changes include:

  • Drooping or wilting
  • Drying
  • Yellowing

While it may seem alarming, it is a natural process among many daffodil cultivars. The leaves thrive for 4 to 6 weeks after the blooming season to absorb enough sunlight and manufacture food for the bulbs.

The leaves, in turn, do not keep much of the food to maintain their health and appearance. All essential nutrients go to the bulbs to help ensure the plant will bloom again in spring. As time passes, the leaves eventually turn yellow or brown and die.

After the leaves wither, some people cut them to the ground. Others take this opportunity to move or divide their old daffodil bulbs.

How to Take Care of Daffodils When They’re Done Blooming

Proper care after the blooming season is crucial if you want to continue enjoying your daffodils’ blooms for the coming years. When properly taken care of, daffodils produce high-quality flowers for several years.

Here are some essential requirements you need to meet to keep your daffodil bulbs in top shape after your daffodils bloom: 

Give Your Daffodils Sufficient Water

Flowering plants typically need plenty of water during the budding season to help the buds open during the blooming season. However, after the blooming season, they will need less water. Depending on which season your plant blooms, you may need to stop watering them after they bloom.

Daffodils still need regular watering for roughly 6 weeks after spending their flowers. If you planted your daffodils in soil with good drainage, watering it thoroughly once a week should suffice.

However, if you planted your daffodils alongside other plants or trees, increase the watering frequency as necessary to address any competition for moisture. Bulbs need sufficient water to generate food.

You can manually check the soil moisture to decide when it’s time to water your daffodils. Three days after watering the soil thoroughly, if the soil surface appears dry, confirm if the dryness extends 2 – 3 inches (5 – 8 cm) below the surface. If so, add enough water to moisten the dry layer.

Ideally, you should bury daffodil bulbs 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) below the surface. Adding more water to the surface will gradually provide your bulbs with moisture.

Avoid over-watering your daffodils, as it may cause your bulbs to rot. It helps to pay attention to the amount of rain expected in your area. You can amend the soil to increase drainage if you expect a heavy downpour.

Your Daffodils Require Adequate Sunlight

Daffodils grow best when they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Most experienced gardeners consider this when deciding where to plant their daffodils. Often, they select an east-facing garden since it provides enough morning light and shelter from the burning afternoon sun.

Sometimes, a south-facing garden works, too, as long as you can provide enough shade to your plants from the midday sun. It is essential to avoid placing your sun-loving daffodils in a north-facing garden if you live in the northern hemisphere, as the area receives the least amount of sunlight.

If you planted your daffodils in an area with many structures, such as a fence, a wall, or trees, casting shadows on the plants most of the day, you might want to consider moving your daffodils elsewhere. 

Note, however, that young bulbs may not do so well when transplanted, especially after the blooming season. They may take a while to recover and fail to produce beautiful blooms the following spring. 

You may want to wait until all the leaves have died before planning the move. When done correctly, your plant can benefit from it in the long run.

Your Daffodils Need Sufficient Nutrients

Daffodils still need nutrients after blooming. Ideally, you should feed daffodils with a potassium-rich, low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Potassium can help the daffodil bulb strengthen its roots and protect the plant during cold and dry weather. Your daffodils don’t need much nitrogen because their foliage eventually dies. Your plant can benefit from a one-time feeding of a slow-release granular fertilizer with a 4-10-10 ratio.

You can apply the fertilizer one to two weeks after the blooming season and work it 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) into the soil. Avoid working the fertilizer too deep into the ground to prevent direct contact with the bulb.

You may check out Lilly Miller Bulb & Bloom Food (available on Amazon.com). It is a slow-release formula with a 4-10-10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, ideal for your daffodils. Be sure to read and follow the product-specific instructions on the label.

To learn more about the most important aspects of lush daffodil blooms, you could check out my other article: Why Do Daffodils Come Up Blind? 8 Common Reasons

Pruning Your Daffodils After Blooming

Daffodils have special restrictions when it comes to pruning. Incorrect timing can result in weaker bulbs and failure to produce beautiful blooms in spring. Leaves and flowers also have different pruning needs.

Let’s check them out below:

Pruning Daffodil Flowers

You may deadhead the spent flowers. It is generally unnecessary, but it can help the plant preserve its energy and dedicate it to food manufacturing. If you leave the plants to their own devices, the spent flowers may produce seeds that can consume some energy.

However, if you plan to propagate your daffodils using seeds, you can leave the flowers on their stalks. Just be sure to provide sufficient water, sunlight, and nutrients to your plant to help it generate enough energy for seeding and bulb food production.

Otherwise, using your hands, you can nip off the spent flowers and up to two inches (5 cm) of their stalks. The remaining length of the stalk can assist with the food manufacturing processes of the plant.

Pruning Daffodil Leaves

You should refrain from pruning your plant’s foliage after blooming. The plant still needs the leaves to absorb sunlight and make food for the bulbs. Moreover, the leaves will eventually die on their own once they have served their purpose.

When the leaves die, you can cut them down to the ground. However, you may need to put some markers in their place to help you locate your bulbs, which are supposed to be buried deep into the ground. It can also help you find them easily whenever you need to water them in the fall or winter.

Propagating or Cultivating Daffodils After Blooming

If you want to propagate your daffodils after the blooming season, you should ideally wait after the bulbs have stored enough food for next spring. It is also best to understand the blooming time of your daffodil cultivar.

Typical daffodil cultivars that bloom throughout spring and stop blooming early in the summer can do well when propagated in late September, especially in colder regions. However, late-blooming daffodil cultivars that bloom until early fall are better off cultivated from mid-October to November.

The key is to find the proper timing that involves the following:

Give It Enough Time to Generate Food for the Bulbs

As discussed, daffodils spend roughly 6 weeks after blooming manufacturing food for the next blooming season. A good indication that your plant is finished doing so is when all its leaves have died.

Plant Your Bulbs Before the Ground Freezes

Depending on your location and how early the cold winter sets in, you can plan the best timing to plant your bulb cutting. It is best to do it when the outdoor air temperature is 50-55 °F (10-12.8 °C). It can help the bulbs develop healthier and sturdier roots, supporting the spring plant.

Final Thoughts

Daffodil flowers are a fascinating sight to behold when in bloom. To further enjoy beautiful blooms in the coming years, it helps to understand and follow the aftercare essentials the plants require after blooming.

Provide your daffodils with necessary growth requirements, such as water, nutrients, and sunlight, after the blooming season to expect plenty of flowers in the following spring!

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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