Heirloom Expert: Rejuvenate Aging Daffodils

Having issues with aging daffodils not flowering as well as they usually do? Doug has some advice for your vexing garden questions.

| Spring 2016

  • These tips will have your daffodils back to normal in no time.
    Photo by Fotolia/lubava84

For the last couple springs my daffodils haven’t been flowering as well as they have in the past. They have been there for about 15 years. Is there anything I can do?

That’s a very common problem. As a clump of daffodils ages, they add smaller bulbs underneath, which get crowded. Wait to see how many bloom and then it’s time to take action. Back in the day we would put some stakes around the area and dig in the fall. Experts now tell us it’s probably better to dig in the spring. Fall excavation almost always meant slicing lots of the bulbs to shreds. In the spring, moving the bulbs “in the green,” is easier and less traumatic for them, although they will resent being moved. Dig the whole bunch up and gently tease the bulbs apart, setting the biggest aside keeping the foliage in place if possible. Improve the soil with a few inches of compost and set the biggest bulbs on the compost, giving them a few inches between each. Then cover with the backfill. The smaller bulbs can also be planted and will bloom when they reach the right size.

Doug Oster, contributing editor

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube