Thinning daffodil bulbs is an important aspect of growing daffodils. In fact, it is an important aspect of growing any kind of bulb. This is a picture of my front steps with daffodils on the left and lavender and daffodils on the right. The daffodils were planted at the same time. As you can see from the picture the daffodils on each side of my steps are growing very differently. It looks as if the ones on the left were planted a lot later but they were planted the same time about 15 years ago. They are not as large and not flowering very much and clumped together.
Thinning Daffodil Bulbs–See the Difference!
The difference is that I thinned the ones on the right a few years ago. That means I dug them up, separated out the bulbs that were attached. And then I replanted them spreading them out. I got a lot more bulbs than I could put back into that small space because daffodils are always producing more bulbs under the ground. I never had time to thin out the left side and you can see that they really have suffered. They are very clumped together and are not producing so many flowers. The difference between each side is quite striking!
So I made the time and dug out the left side. It really had to be done. I was surprised at how many bulbs I dug up. So I decided to count them–I got 315 daffodil bulbs!! No way could I replant them all in the space. It is amazing at how many bulbs were produced under the ground! Now I have lots of bulbs for all over my yard.
One thing to remember is to always leave the green leaves for as long as possible after the flowers die because they are producing food for the bulbs to grow. Sometimes they start to look very messy so I fold them over in half and secure them with rubber bands. Eventually they look so bad they have to go. So daffodils and bulbs in general seem like an “easy way out” in gardening. They come up year after year with no work on our part and they are very beautiful. But then every few years you have to bite the bullet and dig them up and separate them or they won’t do so well. I think it is a great bargain–they bloom every year all on their own. So you have to dig once in awhile but then you end up with lots of free bulbs. I even packaged some in tissue paper and put them in a decorative gift bag and gave a wonderful gift to a gardening friend.
For more information on daffodils see my post on Brown Tips on Daffodil Leaves.