Bulbs forum: Daffodils failing to bloom?

Views: 595, Replies: 17 » Jump to the end
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Mar 23, 2015 5:49 PM CST
I have quite a few Daffodil bulbs that are Id say at least 8 years old. They emerge every year but fail to flower. I've cleared out weeds and leaves that used to choke growth, i fertilize as soon as leaves start to emerge and don't fertilize again. As soon as the leaves get long and snake like I cut them.

I can't figure out why they won't bloom?
Name: Joy Wooldridge
Kalama, Wa. (Zone 8b)
Sunset Zone 6, Heat zone 4,
Garden Photography Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Daylilies Lilies
Bulbs Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover
Image
Joy
Mar 23, 2015 6:00 PM CST
I think the time to fertilize daffodils is as the foliage is dying back. Are you letting the foliage die back naturally or do you cut them off when they start to turn brown? Allowing them to stay on helps to nourish the bulb for next year's blooms. The only other factor I can think of would be if they are in too much shade.
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
Name: Joy Wooldridge
Kalama, Wa. (Zone 8b)
Sunset Zone 6, Heat zone 4,
Garden Photography Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Daylilies Lilies
Bulbs Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover
Image
Joy
Mar 23, 2015 8:45 PM CST
Re-read your post. I think I may know why you aren't getting blooms.

keithp2012 said: As soon as the leaves get long and snake like I cut them.


This year, leave the foliage alone until it's completely dead. You should have blooms again the following year. Smiling
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Mar 23, 2015 10:03 PM CST
Joy said:Re-read your post. I think I may know why you aren't getting blooms.



This year, leave the foliage alone until it's completely dead. You should have blooms again the following year. Smiling


Gotcha, I'll do that! Thumbs up
Name: Joy Wooldridge
Kalama, Wa. (Zone 8b)
Sunset Zone 6, Heat zone 4,
Garden Photography Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Daylilies Lilies
Bulbs Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover
Image
Joy
Mar 23, 2015 10:45 PM CST
Thumbs up Smiling
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
jmorth
Mar 23, 2015 11:53 PM CST
Another factor may be that they're too over crowded if you've never thinned them out in 8 years; daffodils naturally naturalize forming colonies that after so long need some disbursement or fail to flower.
I agree with Joy's advise concerning longevity of leaf to accumulate energy for following year.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Joy Wooldridge
Kalama, Wa. (Zone 8b)
Sunset Zone 6, Heat zone 4,
Garden Photography Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Daylilies Lilies
Bulbs Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Container Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover
Image
Joy
Mar 24, 2015 12:16 AM CST
Good point J. That could be a factor as well.
No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden. ~Hugh Johnson
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Seedfork
Mar 24, 2015 7:21 AM CST
keithp2012,
Just curiosity on my part, but do you have a photo of the plants so we could see how crowded they are? I was wondering if cutting the leaves off too early prevents them from blooming, does it also prevent them from multiplying?
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 24, 2015 7:27 AM CST
I have some daffs that I planted just 2 years ago. They came up last year, the first spring and bloomed. This year they came up and no blooms. The foliage looks fine. I did not cut them back last year until mid June and I didn't fertilize or otherwise do anything to them. They are Carlton. I wish I knew why they aren't blooming because they are planted in a row along the front yard by the street.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Mar 25, 2015 4:28 AM CST
Keith, crowding and possibly removing foliage prematurely would be my guesses too. As the foliage yellows this summer, I would dig and divide them, and store the bulbs dry till fall. Sometimes when I divide crowded clumps that have stopped blooming, blooms will be sparse the first spring after division, but after that they bloom well.

Frilly, that is odd for Carlton, as its one of the toughest and naturalizes easily. Is the site sunny? Carlton is a mid season bloomer here, but I can see the buds, so I think you'd see them too if they were there.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Mar 25, 2015 5:48 AM CST
They are in full sun. The soil is a little clay-like on a slope. I planted them about 4 inches deep, probably not deep enough, but I know that daffs will put themselves at whatever depth they like. They didn't seem to mind it last year! We had a kind of dry winter, but I wouldn't think that would matter for a bulb.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Mar 25, 2015 6:14 AM CST
Doesn't sound like any of those things would keep them from blooming to me, very odd... I'm seeing a couple of Daff issues here I can't explain too. I planted 10 Topolino in fall of 2013, and last spring they all bloomed, but this year only 3 bulbs bloomed, 5 blooms total. They're in a bed where lots of other Daffs are doing well, as well as a Peony, several bearded Irises and Siberian Irises, Lilies, Lilac, and other perennials. I had thought maybe other plants had shaded the foliage and kept it from replenishing the bulbs, but then realized I have other shorties in there doing well -Tete a tete and Minnow.

The other that is perplexing me is a white trumpet/large cup called 'Weena'. Also planted in fall of 2013. The bloom last year was not great, but I figured after a year of settling in, they would start showing off. They haven't shown up at all this year. I don't think I've ever had a Daff no show the 2nd year, can't figure that out at all. I did notice Brent and Becky's isn't offering it in the new catalog, maybe that's why.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Mar 25, 2015 9:19 AM CST
Last year my daffodil planting area was grass and they emerged in the grass. It took forever for them to push through and the grass sucked nutrients and water quickly I don't think the daffodils were getting much plus using all that energy to push through.

End of last year I pulled up all grass in the area and filled with high quality organic soil and kept it weed free. It's been getting plenty of water and sun and nutrients and my daffodils are growing faster than ever now and I think I see flower buds on a few this year, better than none!
Thumb of 2015-03-25/keithp2012/81bd53

[Last edited by keithp2012 - Mar 25, 2015 12:19 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #815908 (13)
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Oct 25, 2015 7:41 AM CST
Hello from the southern hemisphere, my daffs are doing similar things. I have a group that I let grow in a multiplication nursery bed for some years. They are reasonably well spaced and yet only a few flowered . They are in a very sunny spot and fairly well protected. They have normal size leaves but no flower buds. Another group was planted the same fall ( 4 years ago) on a very sunny slope, naturalized among grasses. Both never received more fertilizer than initially: a good quantity of our own compost. This second group ( presumably in worse condition than the former) flowered profusely. The cultivars of the flowered ones are different. Perhaps that may explain it. For those who have longer a further knowledge in growing daffs, what would be the reasonable time to let daffs undisturbed in the ground, before lifting them and starting all over again? If fertilizing could be the cause, what would you use, something organic around the clumps after flowering? It doesnt make any sense to me in adding fertilizer once the leaves start yellowing because nutrient uptake is an active ( photosynthetic wise) metabolic process. The food after the yellowing starts, is no longer available to the plant that is moving towards dormancy. Would you then fertilize just after flowering? Would you instead add a general 15-15-15 fertlizer around the clumps? My daffs are now starting to fade off and I should be doing something during the next week or so,. They have all of November and by the beginning of December they start to yellow . By Christmas they are completely brown ready to be lifted or top planted with anuals. Unfortunately, with the exception of King Alfred, all the rest of cvs. are from unkown sources ( namewise). Thanks to all. Arturo
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Oct 25, 2015 8:41 AM CST
I believe you may have come to the correct conclusion as it does sound like the difference in varieties is the likely explanation as to why some of your daffodils bloom and others do not. Some varieties require a longer cold treatment than others (or lower temperatures). For example I have read that Mount Hood performs better in colder climates, and have noted that after particularly mild winters I sometimes see fewer blooms.

As to how long to leave the bulbs undisturbed, that also depends on the cultivar. Some increase much faster than others and need dividing more frequently- perhaps every 3 to 5 years, while others are much slower. Some varieties tolerate being crowded better than others, which allows them to continue blooming profusely when they are crowded. These varieties can be left undisturbed indefinitely or until you note decreased bloom (unless you would simply like to spread the bulbs to other locations or share them with others). Planting the bulbs deeper keeps them from increasing as quickly.

If your soil is fairly fertile, daffodils don't need much fertilizer. Vigorous varieties that naturalize easily may never need feeding, but others benefit from light feeding. I only fertilize mine lightly every 3 or 4 years, and prefer to do so in fall when they are breaking dormancy and root growth has begun. I use bone meal, and often feed other perennials near the bulbs in spring too, so they sometimes get a light feeding in spring just as the foliage begins to emerge. I think 15-15-15 may be a bit heavy on the nitrogen for most flowering bulbs. The bone meal I use is 6-9-7, but any bulb food or flowering plant food with more phosphorus (higher middle number) is good for daffodils. I agree that feeding when the foliage is yellowing seems inadvisable as this is when they are going dormant and essentially going to sleep for a few months. This is the time when cultivated bulbs are being harvested and dried to be stored in temperature and humidity controlled environments until fall planting time.
Thumb of 2015-10-25/gemini_sage/3e031a Thumb of 2015-10-25/gemini_sage/2b524d

"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin
hampartsum
Oct 30, 2015 8:33 AM CST
Thank you so much Neill!! Thank You! Arturo
Name: Sondra
NE Houston, Texas (Zone 9a)
Cat Lover Region: Texas
Image
SALL20
Nov 3, 2015 9:55 AM CST
Neal, do you just sprinkle the bone meal on the ground around them? I don't fertilize my bulbs much because I thought it needed to be deep in the soil to do much good. If just applying it like other fertilizers will work, I'll start doing it more often.
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Nov 3, 2015 12:38 PM CST
I sprinkle it around and then work it in a little, more to deter dogs than for the garden. The other day I was sprinkling bone meal around and turned around to see my dog was following me a licking it off the surface of the ground! Hilarious! My understanding is that bone meal releases slowly, and I believe the nutrients need to be in solution form for plants to access them, so rain will gradually dissolve the fertilizer and bring it to the root zone.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Bulbs forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"