Do Daffodils Spread?

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The short answer to this question is yes!

In the right setting, healthy daffodils can and will spread by reseeding themselves and producing new bulbs.

Spreading DaffodilsPin

If you want a richly populated flowerbed or a colorfully naturalized landscape, this can be a real money saver.

On the other hand, it may be a problem if your daffodils get out of control.

In this article, we explore the topic of spreading daffodils and answer 10 important questions to help you encourage or control their spread as you wish.

Read on to learn more.

Q&A – How Do Daffodils Get Scattered Naturally?

Can Naturally-Spreading Daffodils Become Invasive? 

For the most part, daffodils spread fairly and do not tend to overpower other plants.

While you may end up with more daffodils than you want to keep, finding new homes for healthy daffodil bulbs is usually pretty easy.

You might also sell or trade them at local farmer’s markets or with your garden club members.

How Does Daffodil Seed Reproduction Work? 

Reproduction by seed is called sexual reproduction.

Like any plant, after the flowers have been pollinated, the plant is spurred to produce seeds.

It creates a seed pod just below the flower’s petals. This is a rare event, though. 

Daffodils have heavy pollen, and they don’t produce sweet nectar. This means that the wind doesn’t easily blow about their pollen, and pollinators aren’t really attracted to the flowers. 

If you want your daffodils to produce seed for some reason, you can try hand pollination.

How Are Daffodil Seeds Spread? 

After the daffodil flower dies back, the seeds in the pod dry out and are ready to be spread.

The seed pod breaks open when this happens, and the seeds scatter onto the ground below.

They may be carried away by birds, animals, insects, or the wind in some instances. [source]

Is It Good For Daffodils To Grow From Seed? 

It’s a long, slow process. Hand pollinating flowers is tedious, and results are unreliable.

After you plant the seed, it can take as long as seven years for your homegrown daffodils to bloom.

That’s why most people grow daffodils from bulbs (asexual reproduction).

How Does Daffodil Bulb Reproduction Work? 

A mature, healthy “parent” bulb will produce smaller “daughter” bulbs.

If you don’t dig the bulbs up and divide them, these bulbs will cause the clump of daffodils to become thicker and a bit larger, but they won’t spread far. 

If left entirely to their own devices, these bulbs will become overcrowded, and some will die off.

In addition, blooming will reduce over the years. That’s why it’s important to dig your daffodil bulbs up every five years or so and divide them. 

You can separate the daughter bulbs from the parent bulbs, save them, share them, and plant them in a new location to assist your daffodils in spreading.

Why Do Crowded Daffodil Bulbs Die Back And Stop Blooming?

When the bulbs have been in the ground for a while, they will naturally have used up quite a bit of the nourishment in the soil.

Of course, the more bulbs in a given space, the more food is needed. If daffodil bulbs are left uncared for, they will eventually starve. 

What Can You Do To Feed Daffodil Bulbs? 

It’s a good idea to mulch over your daffodil bulbs late in the autumn after all the foliage has died back and been removed.

Then, add a 2″ or 3″ inch thick layer of compost to help keep the bulbs insulated through the winter.

Compost will decompose slowly, giving your bulbs a steady stream of nutrition when spring comes and throughout the growing season.

When Should You Divide Daffodil Bulbs? 

If you want to spread your daffodils by dividing the bulbs and relocating some of them, the best time to do it is about 8 weeks after bloom time is complete, when the foliage turns yellow. 

Follow these steps:

  • Dig up entire clumps of daffodil bulbs at a time and divide them by hand.
  • Enrich the soil with compost and return some bulbs to their original positions—mulch with compost as described above. 
  • Move extra bulbs to a new setting, remembering to enrich the soil and cover it with mulch.
  • Alternatively, you may wish to dry and store your extra bulbs or share them with other gardeners. 

Should You Cut Off The Yellowed Foliage?

When you divide and transplant daffodil bulbs, you can either leave the yellowed daffodil foliage in place or trim it away.

If you leave it on, remember to cover the white part of the stem with soil and compost. That’s part of the stem that was previously underground.

If you cut it off, be sure to bury the bulb completely (3 times deeper than the bulb’s width). 

How Can You Make Sure Daffodils Don’t Grow Back Where You Don’t Want Them?

If you have daffodils where you don’t want them, the best time to dig them up is in the springtime after they’ve finished blooming.

Be sure to dig several inches away from the edges of clumps so that you don’t miss any daughter bulbs.

After you’ve removed all the bulbs, till the soil deeply (keeping an eye out for stray bulbs).

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