The Q&A Archives: Moving Daffodils

Question: A friend has offered to give me daffodil bulbs. She has too many. Can she dig them and give them to me now, in the spring? Or should I wait until the fall? If I took them now would they bloom this year?

Answer: Daffodils are pretty sturdy plants, all in all. If you dug up and moved a bulb in spring growth, and you did it very carefully and took the entire root system with it and replanted it immediately at the same depth into perfectly prepared soil, and then watered it well, it might work out that it would settle in and still bloom this year. But it might not.

For the same reasoning, if you waited until after bloom and then moved the bulbs while the foliage is still growing this spring, it would probably disturb their foliage growth enough that they would not be sufficiently replenished to bloom well next spring.

Professional daffodil growers allow the bulbs to bloom and grow foliage and die down naturally before digging them. They then store them under controlled temperatures and humidity for planting in the fall. You could try this, but at home, many gardeners successfully divide and replant from overgrown clumps in the fall to avoid the summer storage period. Given the choice, I would wait until late summer or early fall to move them.

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