Daffodils not blooming this year!

(Question)

I’m calling for help, because none of my daffodils came up this year, and they’ve blossomed many years before. But I have never fertilized my bulbs. They’re white, with a pink centre, and I’ve checked that the bulbs are still in the ground. Every year when they’re done blooming, I snip off all the stems and leaves, to make room for annuals.

 

(Answer)

Thank you for calling, and no, this is not good news about your disappearing daffodils. First, as a point of interest, “daffodil” is the common name for any of the plants that are within the genus Narcissus, and your “white-with-pink-centres”  narcissae are not the yellow, trumpet shaped plants commonly called daffodils. On to your mystery:  the good news is that your bulbs are still intact underground, and there are several remedies you might consider.

  • Daffs appreciate being fed a few times a season. Choose a higher phosphorus, lower nitrogen, combo, of say 5-10-10, to promote root and blossom growth, and follow the instructions on the packaging cafefully.
  • The plants replenish their bulbs for up to 2 months after blooming, so do not cut off any growth. In fact, resist twisting or bundling up the leaves, as this reduces important photosynthesis: do your best to plant incoming annuals in and around the leaves and stems.
  • Very often bulbs in compacted clumps will cease blooming. Period. You did refer to “many years”, so after the leaves have yellowed, dig up the clumps, separate into individual bulbs, and replant about 15 cm apart. You could re-plant immediately, but do not water until the fall, or keep them dry in a mesh bag, and then plant and fertilize in the fall.

We’re also attaching a link right here to an earlier reply to another gardener’s query about disappearing daffodils.