Have your daffodils finished flowering and now you are wondering if you can lift them and store them over summer ready for planting in autumn? Let’s have a look and find out.
Yes, you can lift and store daffodil bulbs. Although unless you are growing them in containers I recommend just leaving them in the ground and letting them be.
Lifting and Storing Daffodil Bulbs
To begin with, you need to make sure the bulbs have soaked up as much energy as possible before lifting them. This will mean they flower bigger and better next year. If you lift them too early you can end u with a really poor showing next spring.
Deadhead Old Flowers
The first thing you should be doing before thinking of lifting your bulbs is regular deadheading and not allowing the production of seed heads. This is wasted energy that should instead be going to the bulb of the plants.
Reproduction through seed is very difficult and slow with daffodils so rather than letting the plant waste energy on this, we want to focus all of its energy on further developing its bulb.
This can easily be done by deadheading all old flowers before they turn to seed.
Let The Leaves Flop
Now we have to just let the leaves flop around on the soil, yes they look unsightly but they are still taking in sunlight and storing that energy in the bulb.
This is vital for next year’s growth so we want to allow the leaves to soak up the sun.
Many people like to tie these dying leaves up into bunches to tidy them up a little bit. And while this will make the plants look better in the short term it is not good for their long-term growth.
This is because by tying the leaves up you are massively reducing the surface area of the leaves that will get sunlight. This means they will store less energy for next year and therefore not perform as well as they could.
Cut Back To The Ground
Once the leaves have started to yellow then you can cut them right back to the ground if you wish. This usually happens around May or early June.
Lifting The Bulbs
Once the plants have fully finished flowering and the leaves have died off then you can begin to think about lifting and storing the bulbs.
Gently lift the bulbs from the soil using a hand fork or trowel if you have one, if any new bulbs are starting to form through division then you can break these off to form new plants.
Put the bulbs onto a tray or sheet of kitchen roll and leave them in a dry but sunny spot to aid them in drying out. After a couple of days of drying, I like to move my bulbs into a cardboard box full of newspaper and store them like this all summer before planting again in autumn.
Make sure the cardboard box stays dry and stays out of the sun!