Beginner Question

February 13, 2012
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Categories: Bulb Information, Daffodil Types, Growing Daffodils, Standards

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Greetings and allow me to introduce myself. I am Sarah, live in the Poconos and have a TON of daffodils in both quantity thanks to buying a property full of them and in quality thanks to my Grandmother who dug all of her beautiful varieties up to give me before she moved on. I am an amateur, don’t know the names of the really funky ones we have, and while I have transplanted 100s of them here and there fortunately daffies are forgiving and seem to do well regardless of my limited knowledge.

I found daffynet because I had a daffodil question and couldn’t find an answer to it no matter where I googled and yahooed and searched. Over 25 fruitless clicks and I thought you all may know.

So – we have had a very mild by PA standards winter and the daffy stalks are up about 6 inches but not budding yet. I want to go out, dig up a cluster, pot them and bring them inside. Now I have never tried this and have no idea if it will work. I have cut buds early and had them bloom inside. I have transplanted store-bought inside bloomed bulbs outside. I have planted bulbs inside at Christmas and had them bloom, but I have never tried to interrupt the outdoor growing cycle with a transplant.

So, too long and now short, predictions please. What will happen?

Thank you!
Sarah Bentz

One response to “Beginner Question”

  1. John Beck says:

    Hello Sarah,
    I have done this many times, and in my experience the results
    depend upon the cultivar.I grow a poet which is prolific and common
    and Each spring I dig several clumps and pot the bud bearing bulbs in a
    pot- I try to pull the smaller bulbs aout to replant immediately. I find that the
    replanted bulbs will skip a year of blooming if they are blooming size-
    if they are too smalll to bloom they will probabbly not bloom for three or four years
    in their new site. Bulbs that are big enough will bloom in the pot and will
    form solid bulbs if treated well while in the pots(not allowed to wilt from
    lack of water and allowed to dry completely after the leaf tips brown)
    I believe that digging them sacrifices most of the roots, but I try to leave
    a lot of short roots on every bulb. You can certainly pot up the whole clump-
    but I feel this may doom the little bulbs in the clump which may not add any
    bloom to the display. If I am digging in the spring I prefer to take up a large
    clump of dirt surrounding the daffodils. If the clump is nto too large I place
    it in a 5 gallon bucket of water- otherwise I pull the clump in half and half
    again and place one piece in the bucket of water. I split the clump by puling
    the foliage in opposite directions until the root ball splits in half. Once in the water
    the bulbs come off the splits easily. I do not put more than one piece of a clump
    in the bucket as the soil and bulbs from each piece bury anything in the bucket.
    This means with smaller clumps I am pulling them in half then peeling individual
    bulbs off and placing them in a pot or on the ground- or when I have several
    clumps into a bucket of clean water to keep them wet until I replant or pot them up.
    I prefer to only pot bulbs with a bud on them so as to have a good show in the pot.
    I have not had good bloom from some varieties the year after they were in a pot
    but they live and can be planted in the ground.
    I typically do not fertilize my pots
    I feel that digging the bulbs destroys most of their roots but does not stop them
    from performing their first year- I think the flowers do much better left on the bulb.
    I have had best luck doing this with div 2 and div 9 jonquils do not do well for me
    in pots.
    I place landscape fabric oin a pot, an inch of mulch, then the bulbs, then fill the pot
    with compost if I have it, with topsoil or potting soil if I don’t have compost.
    Sorry to be so wordy
    John Beck
    in Southern Illinois