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Split out Daffodil Bulbs – How To

Split out Daffodil Bulbs. A single daffodil will become a big clump of flowers. With time all of the bulbs are competing for the same nutrients and water, resulting in smaller and weaker plants.  The cluster should be split up and spread out to other areas of the garden where each bulb can divide, grow, flourish and give you more daffodils every year. 


Why are Daffodils one of my favorite spring flowers? The early varieties start blooming in early spring, and the flowers on the later types don’t fade until late spring. One thing I love about them is, in addition to their beauty, the deer won’t eat them. I live in upstate NY, and we have an over-abundance of hungry deer. Daffodils are poisonous to the deer, and they leave them alone.

Cut attached stems
Pull unattached stems and leaves
daffodil leaves
Discard stems and leaves

When Should I Split my Daffodil Bulbs?

Once the daffodils are done blooming, the flowers die. Take a pair of scissors and cut off all the dead flowers. (deadheading) This tells the bulbs to begin to store up energy to make more flowers for next year. Let the leaves continue to grow as they also send energy and nutrient to the bulbs. Once the leaves turn yellow and flop over flat on the ground, it is time to remove them. Give the leaves a gentle tug to see if they will pop off of the bulb. If the leaves stay attached to the bulb after the gentle tug, take a pair of scissors and cut them off about an inch above the ground.

digging daffodils
splitting daffodils
splitting daffodils
replanting the split bulb

How Do I split out the Daffodil Bulbs? 

A large shovel works best for digging up a large cluster of daffodil bulbs. A group can be split up about every 3 to 5 years. Dig up the whole clump and shake off the dirt. The bulbs will easily separate. If you have a smaller daughter bulb attached to a large bulb, don’t force them apart. Discard any cut bulbs or diseased bulbs. The cut bulbs are susceptible to disease and fungus. Replant 3 or 4 of the bulbs in the same spot. The rest of the bulbs can be replanted in a different area.

Storing the Bulbs.

The bulbs can be stored until the fall or kept over-winter in a cool, dry place. To store the bulbs, brush off the excess dirt and put them in a mesh bag or on a screen to let the cure for a week. After a week, put them in a paper bag or newspaper lined crate. The bulbs can be immediately replanted in a different area.

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