The first year you plant your daffodils, they will probably bloom well. However, in the following years, they may bloom less or even fail to bloom.
This can be caused by many factors, including:
- the need for fertilizer
- problems with plant pests or illnesses.
In this article, we explore why daffodils sometimes fail to bloom.
Daffodils Need Energy From The Sun
If your daffodils cannot store ample food through the winter, they will not have enough energy to produce blooms in the spring. More on growing daffodils here.
To ensure your daffodils can store nourishment, you must leave the foliage in place for about 6 weeks after the plants bloom.
During this time, the leaves use photosynthesis to gather energy from the sun and convert it into food to be stored in the bulb.
You will starve the bulbs if you cut the foliage off right after the plant stops blooming.
It’s best to simply allow the foliage to die off naturally after bloom time is complete.
If your daffodils are planted in partial shade, it’s good to move them to a sunnier location after the foliage has died back.
They will be able to store energy and bloom well in a location that gets a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Daffodils Need The Right Food
It’s smart to feed your daffodil bulbs when you plant them by incorporating fertilizer granules with an NPK rating of 5-10-10 into the soil.
You can apply this to the soil’s surface around the plants early in the spring in subsequent years.
Be careful not to use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen rating because this will encourage foliage growth, but it will not help with flower production.
Daffodils Don’t Like To Compete For Nutrition
If your daffodil bulbs are planted among or near other fast-growing plants, such as evergreen trees, they will be hungry.
It’s best to give your daffodils their flowerbed or naturalize them in the open, among grasses, where they won’t have to fight for food.
Crowded Daffodil Bulbs Won’t Bloom
If it’s been a few years since you’ve divided your daffodils, they may have stopped blooming due to overcrowding and competition for food.
When this happens, you need to do the following:
- dig the bulbs up
- amend the soil
- separate the bulbs
- replant them with the right space
- store or share extra bulbs
Soggy Daffodils Will Not Bloom
You must be very careful to provide your daffodils with a well-draining soil mix that retains just the right moisture.
Make sure they are planted on a bit of a rise to run off excess water.
Daffodils that are forced to stand in water will develop basal rot, which leads to death. Failure to bloom is one of several symptoms of this malady.
Other symptoms include pale, malformed foliage and blooms.
If your daffodils develop basal rot, you will need just to dig them up, toss them and start over.
Daffodils Infected With Viruses Will Not Bloom
As time passes, daffodils have more and more opportunities to be exposed to various plant viruses.
They are especially susceptible to mosaic viruses, which cause failure to bloom and blotchy spots and streaks on the leaves.
If you suspect your daffodils have been infected by a virus, you are best off to dig them up, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose of them.
You should also take steps to disinfect the entire area and remove and replace the soil in which the bulbs grew. [source]
Stressed Daffodils Will Not Bloom
It is common for daffodils that have been transplanted to skip a blooming season while they settle in.
If you have just moved some bulbs from one area to another, you may simply need to apply some patience.
If you added fertilizer at the planting time, don’t overdo it by adding more in the first season.
If you didn’t, then a dose of fertilizer may help.
Poorly Shipped Daffodil Bulbs May Not Bloom
Sometimes daffodil bulbs are so stressed by shipping that they cannot bloom in their first year.
It is also possible for bulbs to pick up diseases in transit.
For example, the closed, humid quality of shipping containers makes an ideal setting for fungal growth and the spread of viruses.
Therefore, always examine bulbs carefully when you buy them.
Any bulbs with injuries or soggy spots should be rejected.
Daffodils Don’t Do Well In The Wrong Climate
Even though most daffodils are hardy and enthusiastic in almost every setting in North America, some varieties do better in some areas than others.
Therefore, before choosing and planting any type of daffodil bulb, check to ensure that the variety you are considering will thrive in your setting.
Likewise, if the climate in your area has changed dramatically, daffodils that did well in the past may cease to do well in the present.
In this case, you may be able to save them by moving them to a different setting in your yard.
But, on the other hand, you may need to replace them with another variety that will do well in your new normal.