Cheerful yellow daffodils light Australian gardens between June and October. Thriving best in the cooler southern regions, daffodils are relatively simple to grow from bulbs. Read on to learn how to best plant and care for them.
When and Where to Plant Daffodils
In the temperate regions of southern Australia, the best time to plant daffodil bulbs is March or April. However, some impatient gardeners successfully grow daffodils from bulbs planted as early as February. In warmer regions, it's best to wait until May to allow the temperatures to drop sufficiently for planting. Daffodils like plenty of light, so gardeners should choose a sunny spot for planting.
How to Plant Daffodils
Gardeners should place daffodil bulbs roughly 15 centimetres below the surface of the soil, with the pointed end facing up. In warmer areas, daffodil bulbs should be planted slightly deeper and covered with mulch to shield them from the high temperatures.
Best Soil Types for Daffodils
Daffodils aren't too fussy about soil types. Gardeners claim that pH 7.0 is ideal, but not essential. However, daffodils do require adequate drainage, as the daffodil bulbs can rot in saturated soils. The drainage of heavy soil can be improved by mixing in some light organic matter.
How to Water Daffodils
During dry periods, gardeners should lightly water daffodils twice a week. Watering is most important when daffodils are budding. Gardeners should avoid overwatering daffodils, as very wet soil can cause the bulbs to rot.
How to Feed Daffodils
Daffodils often thrive without any fertiliser at all. However, gardeners who are working with soil that has a poor nutrient density can add some potassium sulphate at the time of planting to encourage growth, followed by a complete garden fertiliser when the first leaves start to surface.
How to Care for Daffodils After Flowering
When the daffodil flowers have died, they can be removed. However, the leaves should remain in place, as they continue to produce nutrients to sustain the plant over the winter. In regions with hot and wet summers, the bulbs can be dug up once the leaves have died back and stored in a cool, dark and dry place for replanting the next year. This prevents the bulbs from rotting in the ground as the humidity rises.
How to Grow Daffodils in Containers
Daffodils can be grown successfully in containers, although it is important to ensure that the container is big enough to plant the bulbs at a depth of 15 centimetres. Growers of potted daffodils should use a bulb potting mix to ensure good drainage. When potted daffodils are kept inside, it's important to keep them in a cool part of the home, away from heaters.