Monday, June 3, 2013

Daffodil Leaves

By Sandy Grimwade

Although daffodil flowering season has passed, how you treat your daffodil plants now will affect how they will bloom next spring. The leaves that grow above the ground after flowering provide nutrients that allow a strong bulb to form below the ground, and strong bulbs are essential for great flowers next spring. With this in mind, here are a few tips for dealing with those sometimes messy leaves.

Do not bunch, rubber band or braid the leaves. If you do this you are decreasing the amount of sunlight getting to the leaves and hence decreasing the bulb development below ground.

Cut off leaves as soon as they have done their job. You don’t need to wait till the leaves go brown and die. About six weeks after flowering (early to mid June in the Philadelphia area), the leaves have done all they will do and it is safe to cut them off an inch or so above the ground. The bulbs do not develop better if you leave the leaves longer than six weeks after flowering.

Remove and compost the leaves. Remove the leaves from the surface of the soil. The soil where daffodil bulbs are planted needs to get warm and dry for the bulbs to mature. You can plant some annuals over your daffs without a problem, but don’t mulch heavily. Daffodil leaves make good compost, so don’t toss them out.

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