How to plant daffodil bulbs – with Alan Titchmarsh's top tips

Here's how to plant daffodil bulbs like a pro, according to our favourite gardening guru, Alan Titchmarsh

How to plant daffodil bulbs: Daffodils, by Andrea Tummons
(Image credit: Unsplash/Andrea Tummons)

If you'd like to learn how to plant daffodil bulbs fo beautiful blooms next spring, now is the time. Daffodils take a long time to come through, so plant them any time from now until November. Fortunately, it's quite easy, and there are lots of varieties to choose from (see our suggestions at the end of the article). 

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What is the best month to plant daffodil bulbs?

September to October is the perfect time to plant daffodil bulbs to enjoy the blooms in February/March next year. While tulips can wait until November, daffodils really ought to be planted before hard frosts.  

Where to plant daffodils in the garden

Daffodils can be planted anywhere with adequate sun for at least part of the day, but avoid planting them next to south-facing walls, where it may become too hot for them in the spring. avoid full shade, as they will not flower. 

How to plant daffodil bulbs – with tips from Alan Titchmarsh

Alan advises (as shown in the video below) to first inspect the daffodil bulbs: you want them to be plump and hard – that way, you'll know that they are reliable. Size isn't the most important thing: smaller bulbs also produce very pretty flowers. These are his other top three tips:

1. Dig holes three times the height of the bulb: if they're planted too shallow, they won't flower. 

2. Plant them the pointy tip up, in well draining soil (aerate the soil first if it's compacted). 

3. Plant the bulbs in groups for a pretty display, but avoid planting them too close together – allow about 10cm between the bulbs. 

Which varieties of daffodils should I plant? 

Daffodils come in lots of different types, and it's really down to your taste which ones you want to grow. We'd avoid planting tall and  large varieties (Dutch Master, Spellbinder) next to small delicate ones (February Gold, Hawera), as the little ones will be lost among the huge ones. 

Daffodils: common problems

The most common problems with daffodils are:

  • Shallow planting: this will cause the plant to grow without flowering. Plant them at a depth that's three times the bulb size
  • Late frosts: if your daffodil buds have turned brown and withered before opening, they've been blasted by an unseasonal frost. You may find that it helps to stagger your daffodil planting, for example once every couple of weeks up until November
  • Root rot: this is the most common cause for daffodil plants becoming yellow and weak and wilting. Improve soil drainage to avoid this problem. 

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