Daffodils are a cheery and familiar sign of spring, whether planted in your garden, scattered throughout your lawn, or kept in pots and containers on your windowsill, porch, balcony, or patio.
Growing daffodils in pots is an easy and rewarding task for gardeners of all skill levels. This article provides step-by-step instructions to help you grow container daffodils.
Planting Daffodils in Pots
1. Begin With a Suitable Container.
Choose an 8″ – 12″ diameter container to grow daffodils in pots. It must also be deep enough to accommodate the roots of your growing daffodils, so it should be at least a foot deep.
Containers that provide good air circulation to the roots and good drainage are best.
Wooden or terra cotta containers with good drainage are ideal. Ceramic or plastic containers are also acceptable if they have plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.
Remember that no container plant should ever stand in water, as it is a sure recipe for root rot.
2. Choose the Right Time of Year.
Establish your container daffodils in the fall to have spring blooms. Generally speaking, when spring bulbs become available in your local garden center in autumn, it is safe to buy and plant them right away.
If you can select daffodil bulbs individually, always choose the largest bulbs of the variety you have in mind. Scrutinize each one and reject any that are damaged or have soft spots. https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/growing-bulbs-indoors
3. Use Light, Airy Soil.
Although daffodil bulbs planted in the ground do well with a mixture of packaged garden soil and the natural soil, potted daffodil bulbs should not be placed in this soil type.
Instead, buy a good quality potting mix and add coarse sand. The proper ratio is two parts potting mix to one part sand.
4. Prepare the Container.
Sterilize any container you plan to reuse before potting your daffodil bulbs. Proper cleaning prevents the transmission of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Assemble your prepared potting mixture, your clean container, and your bulbs so that you can work quickly and efficiently.
Fill your foot-deep container with about 8″ of soil mixture. Arrange 4-6 bulbs (depending on the size of the bulbs) in a loose, evenly spaced circle, so they are not touching one another.
Remember that they should be pointy-end-up!
5. Cover the Bulbs With Potting Mix.
Fill the pot to the top and press the soil down gently. You don’t want to compact it.
Create a 1/2″ inch or so of space between the soil’s surface and the top of the pot. If you need to add a little more soil, do so.
6. Water Your Daffodil Bulbs.
Give your freshly planted bulbs a good watering, allowing excess water to run out through the drainage holes.
You don’t need to provide fertilizer. The fresh soil and the bulbs themselves contain ample nutrients.
7. Give Your Daffodil Bulbs a Cooling-off Period.
Once the excess water has run off, move your bulbs to a cool, dark, protected setting that will maintain a consistent 40°-45° degrees Fahrenheit temperature for the next 3-4 months. A basement is a good choice.
If your basement is too warm, or if you don’t have a basement, you can bury the pot in your yard, just below the soil’s surface.
Add a layer of mulch over it to protect against freezing. You can dig it up in the springtime after all the danger of frost has passed.
8. Water Occasionally if Storing Your Daffodil Bulbs Indoors.
If you keep your prepared containers in your basement or other cool, indoor setting, check them a couple of times a month to ensure the soil hasn’t dried out completely. If it has, provides a very light watering.
9. Acclimate Your Container Daffodils.
After 3-4 months have passed and signs of spring appear, bring your potted daffodils into the light. If you’ve kept them indoors, bring them into a room that receives bright, indirect sunlight and maintains a 50°-60° degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
If you’ve buried your potted daffodils, wait until all danger of frost has passed, and then move them into a sheltered outdoor setting that receives moderate sun.
In either instance, water moderately and wait for leaves to emerge. When they do, you can move the pots into an area that receives full sun.
10. Begin Again in the Coming Autumn.
Although it is possible to grow daffodils in pots successfully and enjoy blooms from those same bulbs for up to three years, it’s better to start fresh with new bulbs every fall.
Retire your potted daffodil bulbs to the garden so they can rejuvenate and live long, happy, natural lives.