About 5 years ago I planted loads of daffodil bulbs, and for a few years got loads of daffs, as expected. Last year not nearly so many and this year just three, the bulbs are sprouting and look healthy, but no sign of any flowers. Now I’m not the best gardener in the world, cutting grass,trees and strimming is what I do, but crikey what hope if I can’t even grow daffs…Any of you green fingers geniuses have any idea what I’ve done wrong, or what can be done?
Most likely the leaves were removed before ripening. After flowering bulbs rely on their foliage for photosynthesis, so if the leaves are removed before they have ripened/yellowed, there will be no flowers the following year because they have not set the flower.
Also bulbs that have become too clump heavy need breaking up as they compete for food and don’t set the flowers because they are starved of food.
If you cut the greenery off too quickly after flowering last year that could be the cause. The bulbs replenish themselves from the leaves so leave them for 6-8 weeks before cutting.
Give them a feed now (purin de consoude/ comfrey tea) is good, amd maybe again in a few weeks. If we have a very dry spring then water then. And as other shave said let the foliage die naturally.
You can tell if they are starved if the leaves go yellow and wither quickly. You want them to stay green and perky for quite a while.
After 5 years in the same location it may well be that the soil is exhausted. Once the leaves have died back naturally, try spreading a good layer (6 inches) of organic matter (farmyard manure) and lightly fork into the soil. Repeat the process in late autumn and you should have a good show of flowers next year.
If you don’t care for the mess and stink of good old fashioned ‘Muck’, you can buy a bagged version at the supermarket or garden center that has been dried to remove the smell and make it cleaner to handle. Of course this will be more expensive than collecting a trailer load from a farm or stables.
If you don’t care for the appearance of the leaves dying back, then you can always lift the bulbs once the leaves start to turn yellow. Gently rub off excess soil and store the bulbs in a single layer on 2 or 3 layers of newspaper in a cardboard or wooden box in a dry place. Lifting the bulbs gives a good opportunity to dig in some manure, as does digging the ground over prior to replanting the bulbs in autumn. Clumps of bulbs should be teased apart at replanting time. Daffs like to be fairly deep in the soil, so the top of the bulb should be a good 6 inches below soil level.
Invariably, when a plant has been in the same place for a number of years, and then in the absence of obvious disease or attack starts failing to flower or grow properly, the answer lies in the soil. Top dressing with a good quality granular fertiliser in late autumn, and again in early spring, will keep the soil well nourished and able to sustain the desired growth and flowering of your plants.
Will daffodils grows down here in the Var?
There are specific varieties of daffodil that can be grown in warmer or arid climates such as in Florida, Arizona, and the Gulf Coast states of the USA, so provided that the right variety is chosen, growing them anywhere in France should be possible provided that the soil is right.
There is a good varietal list for warmer and drier climates to be found here;
No doubt a reputable bulb supplier will also be able to recommend particular varieties for specific growing climates.
Generally it is better to work with the natural instincts of plants, and that is also often more useful for the surrounding ecology as will suit insects etc. So maybe think about going for the winter daffodil instead? Called the winter crocus in France.,
Thanks everyone, I’ll try not to strim them before they’ve died back this year. Maybe get a few more next spring
Winter crocus grow like weeds here, bit of a pest actually as they got under the decking and grow through it, they will be going when it gets replaced.
So lovely tho’…send them to me!