Daffodils not blooming…

(Question)

Last growing season I must have been impatient or careless regarding the pruning of my daffodils; probably the former – “impatient”..

In other words I probably cut the daffodil leaves and spent buds back too soon.

Because, several of my daffodils this year did have large strong and vibrant leaves but did not flower.

If I am more patient this year and wait until the leaves begin to yellow, will these same non flowering plants produce blooms next year or should I just dig them up and plant new bulbs?

Second question –

Most of my daffodils are located in gardens, which after the daffodils bloom they are followed by large leafing hostas. I think what happened last year was the daffodil leaves were poking up through the hosta leaves which prompted me to cut the daffodil leaves down.

Last question – this same scenario will more than likely happen again this year. So when the hostas are in full leaf and the daffodil leaves are spiking through the hosta plants can I cut the daffodil leaves down just a bit so they are not visible spiking up through the hostas? Or will it result in the same situation next Spring – daffodils leafing but not blooming?

Thanks
Paul Tomlinson

 

(Answer)

I’ll reply to your questions in one answer, as the content overlaps a bit. You don’t mention how old your bulbs are: at some point most very old bulbs will cease to be fruitful. But if they are relatively newly planted, then your suspicion that you too readily cut back the leaf growth is likely spot on. The leaves are the means by which the plant stores energy, for the following year, in the bulb underground. Only trim off the top dried flowers, and leave the leaves to do their job. Yes, they don’t look that great, as they turn yellow, then brown, but many gardeners see this as an opportunity to add flowering annuals that will take over the next leg of the growing season. If you resist cutting off the leaf food source this year, then, yes, next year might prove to be better. Hosta spikes usually only start popping up well after daffodils have finished blooming, so I don’t believe Hosta leaves could have shadowed your daff leaves enough to prevent photosynthesis, and you could gently lay the leaves flat to the ground. You haven’t mentioned what you use to amend the soil in your hosta/daffodil bed, but hosta plants are very big eaters, and may be hungrily using up all available nutrients within reach. At the end of this growing season, in addition to not removing any leaves, consider laying 2 or 3 inches of well-rotted manure, or leaf compost, generously around the base of your daffodils, to provide your bulbs with as much nutrient energy as possible for next year. You can do this in the spring as well. One final note: if you prefer not to have to deal with daffodil leaves in and around your hostas, then perhaps relocate them further away: as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here is a sampling of one of your fellow gardener’s questions, and our reply:

Spring bulbs, Daffodils and Tulips