Martha's Top Tips for Planting Daffodil Bulbs

Photo: John Dolan

Our founder discusses the best method for planting beautiful blooms.

01 of 07
John Dolan

Planting daffodil bulbs in your garden in the fall is a surefire way to yield vibrant, blooming flowers come spring. One of many types of bulbs—hyacinths and tulips are two more favored types—daffodils sweep across our founder's yard once the weather turns warm. She plants thousands of bulbs in the cool autumn months and welcomes bright petals to her home after the bulbs take root.

Daffodils are a great addition to a flower garden for so many reasons. While their bright, lush blooms are undeniably gorgeous, they're also low-maintenance. While bulbs can sometimes seem as though they'd be challenging to plant, with the proper organization and planning, planting spring-blooming bulbs is quite simple.

"My new daffodil bed bursts into bloom from April through May with waves of yellow, white, orange, and even peach-colored blossoms. Notice how the flowers (shown here at dawn) generally grow to face the prevailing afternoon sun," Martha says. "I chose my varieties carefully to obtain the longest period of bloom and the most interesting mix of sizes, textures, and color combinations." One of the varieties she suggests is the King Alfred daffodil, noting that the bigger the bulb you choose, the more trumpet-like the future bloom.

"When choosing your bulbs, it's important to look for ones that are hard to the touch, nice and firm, and that have no soft spots whatsoever," she says. It's also important to make sure there's no mold or discoloration, and that they still have their protective skin around them prior to planting. When planting bulbs, you want to be sure to plant them with the root end down, which can sometimes take a little figuring out and examining each bulb.

Learn how to plant daffodil bulbs with Martha's top gardening tips and ensure your flower garden reaches new heights of color in the months to come, just like hers.

02 of 07

Plot Development

John Dolan

"By creating a planting 'map' in advance, which I transferred onto the ground with granular lime, I was able to visualize what the springtime blossoming would look like—and get 3,000 bulbs into the ground in a single day," says Martha. Daffodil bulbs should be planted in the fall to yield spring blooms.

03 of 07

Draw the Plan

John Dolan

"Using my bulb catalog as a guide, I make a planting scheme that arranges each daffodil variety in groups, or 'drifts,' of colors, heights, and blooming times," she says.

04 of 07

Prepare the Bed and Map It Out

John Dolan

For larger plantings, Martha suggests using a no-dig method. "Look for a natural depression or hollow on your property where you can place the bulbs eight inches below ground level," she says. "Or, in smaller flower beds, remove the top layer of soil to the proper planting depth. Scatter bulb fertilizer or amendments such as bone meal over the area and work in. Mark the plan directly on the soil surface with lime."

05 of 07

Position Daffodil Bulbs for Planting

John Dolan

Martha says to place each bulb root side down, and space them four to six inches apart in a grid.

06 of 07

Cover Them Up

John Dolan

"Fill in with topsoil and compost, raking until the surface is flat," she says, adding to be sure to avoid stepping on the surface.

07 of 07

On the Grid

John Dolan

"All the daffodil bulbs have now been positioned and await the blanket of soil and compost that will protect them over the long winter," she says. "Gardening is an exercise in patience."

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