ADS Executive Director

Are Daffodils invasive?

April 2, 2019

Categories: American Daffodil Society, General

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I’ve not heard of this. Has anyone else heard that Daffodils are invasive?


From: Jeff Sperry
Subject: Are daffodils invasive?

Message Body:

I have heard that research is starting to show that daffodils can be invasive in woodland and/or naturalized plantings. Does the Society know of any studies being done or have any information about this? Thank you!

3 responses to “Are Daffodils invasive?”

  1. Sara Van Beck says:

    They are not invasive
    Large swaths occur in the South when someone hits an old garden in a pasture with a tractor
    They seed so slowly…
    Sounds like someone (in the native plants only world?) is finding an excuse to rip them out of a setting
    Only reason they’re in the woods is because there once was a garden…


  2. Lawrence Trevanion, Australia Lawrence Trevanion, Australia says:

    There is a book called “Feral Future” by Australian author Tim Low (Penguin 1999) that discusses these issues.

    It says (p.216) “According to one federal report, Recent Incursions of Weeds to Australia 1971 – 1995, 295 new weeds have established in Australia in recent years.” Apparently daffodils are on this list.

    The book says (p. 217): “A German study has found an average lag time in that country of 131 years for shrubs and 170 years for trees.”

    I recall a remark that over the long term a species will come to occupy the niche to which it is suited. There are places in Australia where poets and tazettas are growing unassisted from seed. Last year I visited an old garden near Canberra that has seedling pseudonarcissus growing. At Yass the jonquilla grow easily without help and there are also feral Hillstar type hybrids spreading without assistance. It is hard to believe that bulbocodiums won’t spread. If these niches really do suit daffodils then over very long periods of time we can expect them to spread.

    Bulbs from South Africa can be a serious problem in Australia and the importing of seeds is often prohibited. Daffodils are nowhere near as difficult and I doubt that they will have a catastrophic effect here.

    By way of comparison it may interest Californians to know  that Eschscholzia californica has naturalised along a number of rivers here. This picture was taken on the banks of the Snowy River in rugged unpopulated country.


  3. Clay Higgins, New Jersey Clay Higgins, North Carolina says:


    I have found miniature jonquils and bulbocodiums do spread.  They make many seed pods in my garden and if I don’t dead-head them, the following spring I have a crop of new seedling growing.

    For a number of years I didn’t deadhead my miniatures, now they are all over my garden and in places where I don’t want them.  If you are a hybridizer, like me, you have to fight the naturalized spreading to keep your crosses from becoming contaminated with unwanted seedling.

    However, standard daffodils here do not make a lot of seeds, unless I make the cross myself. I doubt they spread by seeds.  But where I grew up many of the old home-sites are no longer there.  It is common to be hunting in the deep woods and find daffodils growing in the woods.  If you look around you will find other plants and remains of what was an old home-site. Our rural areas are not as populated as they once were, specially in southern Arkansas.