I used to be afraid to divide daffodil bulbs, but no longer. Wait, you say you can’t split them in the spring. Well, that’s just wrong and I’ve proved that this is just not the case. Last year I did a simple experiment and it was very surprised at the outcome a year later.
Like many of you I searched the internet on when the best time was to divide spring bulbs. They pretty much all said wait until fall, or the leaves were brown and the plants dormant. However, there were a few gardening sites that convinced me these yellow beauties are very hardy and can be dug up, separated and plated just about any time of year. Narcissus are very forgiving.
So I decided to give it a go.
As you can see from the clump above the leaves were not yellow or brown yet. But I had ambition, energy (which I don’t always have) the sun was shining and what harm could I really do. These bunches of daffodils were very over crowed and some groups would have 30-40 blooms.
So I got out my shovel and started to dig. Easier said than done. This year I’m going to plant them closer together and get a drill attachment, or a bulb auger to make the planting process faster and easier. I have at least three more clumps to divide.
How to Dig and Transplant Daffodil Bulbs:
Transplant on a day that is cool and the ground damp and moist.
- Start on the outer edges of the grouping. Insert your shovel as far down as you can all the way around the bunch loosening up the soil.
- With the shovel in the ground pull back and gently push the daffodil bulbs to the surface.
- You may have to pull the clump out of the ground
- Gently pull apart and separate the individual bulbs. (in my case one clump had over 50!)
- Place in a bucket, or on paper towels and immediately replant
- Dig a four inch hole with a spade, insert the freshly dug bulb and cover with dirt.
- Water deeply after transplanting.
Replanting immediately I believe is the key. Don’t let the bulbs dry out or get “stale”. To tell the truth after I watered the plants the first time I kinda forgot about them. They were only watered once. But they still survived.
My experiment from last year was very successful, I had over a 95% germination rate and every day when I go out in my garden I count to see how many “baby” daffodils I have popping up in the gardens. From one large bunch of overgrown and crowded daffodils I now have 48 separate plantings in three new areas.
If I didn’t already have a garden nursery full of crowed bulbs ready to be transplanted I would probably buy daffodil bulbs and plant them in the fall, which is when you’re supposed to plant spring bulbs.
More Information on Transplanting and Dividing Bulbs