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Planting daffodil bulbs

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Q. I dug up some daffodil bulbs for transplanting. Do I have to wait until fall to replant?

Helen from Liberty

A. No. You can plant them now. Even if you dug them in June, you can replant them as soon as you dig them up.

The most important thing to remember is to not cut the foliage back too early. The foliage feeds the bulbs to provide next year’s blooms. Wait until the foliage begins to die back (or a little earlier) to being the digging process to replant the bulbs. This is usually four to six weeks after blooms fade.

Daffodil bulbs are best dug up and spread out every four years. This helps the bulbs have enough room to grow and produce a high-quality flower.

If bulbs have been left for years and don’t bloom, there may be a couple of issues. One might be inadequate sunlight. If trees have grown larger, just transplant bulbs to an area of full sun. If the clumps are large with lots of foliage, divide the clumps and spread them out.

In addition to daffodils, most spring blooming bulbs can be dug up, divided, checked for disease and replanted any time after their foliaged has withered. They will remain dormant in the soil until the temperatures drop, when root growth will then begin in the fertile soil.

The only reason these bulbs are not marketed earlier in the season is they are still growing through the first part of summer in the cool climates of places like the Netherlands where they are commercially grown.

To get the best bulbs, start shopping now and plant them in September and October. Spending a few extra dollars on the newest cultivars will ensure you have the best and brightest blooms.

Ordering in bulk online or in packages at your local garden center are some good bets on getting high-quality bulbs. You can plant most bulbs up until the ground freezes, but a few weeks earlier will help you get more root growth for better flowers next spring.

To learn more about pollinators and plants that will attract them during all seasons, go to

Hugh Earnhart, an OSU Extension master gardener volunteer in Mahoning County, provided today’s answer. Call 330-533-5538 to submit your questions. Regular clinic hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays.