Friday, March 9th, 2007...11:18 am

Caring for Daffodils

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Fran asks TheGardenlady the following question:

My mother gave me a (small) pot of gorgeous and very leggy daffodils to take to my office. They have really brightened up my desk, but I am worried that I might have killed them. A few leaves are turning yellow/brown at the tip, and several new flower buds did not bloom, but turned brown and shriveled. I have been good about watering the plant and caring for it. Does it want more sunlight? Do office environments generally kill flowers like daffodils? Thank
you so much for any help you can give!                                                 

Not knowing about the culture of the bulbs before they were brought to you, nor seeing the plant’s condition, I cannot say much about the cause of their dying in your office.  Bulbs that were forced needed good, fertile soil as well as fertilizer in the soil when they were starting to send up shoots in order to have healthy flowers.

When the bulbs are in flower indoors they need a lot of  bright light, some say sunny spot or artificial lights to grow  properly and not leggy.  Office lights can be good for flowers if they are close enough to give light during the day and are shut off at night. Daffodils don’t want light 24 hours.

The daffodils also need coolness. The office may be kept too warm for the bulbs to stay alive. The plants should be kept away from radiators or heating ducts. You know that daffodils outdoors like coolness and even a light snow often doesn’t hurt the flower.

And they need the proper amount of watering with drainage – keep the growing medium moist at all times but  the plants don’t want to be sitting in water. If the plant has the colorful aluminum foil wrapping around it, it could be retaining too much water.

Remember that when you grow plants indoors you have to mimic the plant’s outdoor requirements.

And though daffodils have few insect pests while growing outdoors, when they are indoors some insect may have gotten on them that killed the buds. By now the flowers are probably dead. I hope you didn’t toss the bulbs. When the soil is soft enough to dig, try planting the bulbs outdoors and you might be surprised with the pretty flowers next year in the spring.

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2 Comments

  • I have also recently received a small pot of daffodils for indoors [probably from the local grocery store. It has the colored foil around it]. They doubled in length in one day, look healthy, and have smaller buds about to come out. I keep them in my room which is fairly cool and can get sunny.

    I’m wondering if I need to move the bulbs to a bigger pot at any point as well as if I can share the bulbs with friends once they stop flowering.

  • I too have some from the local grocery store, they have doubled in length over night but im thinking about cutting the tall ones as the are starting to shrivel and go a bit brown which should let the other new buds shine. Is this the right thing to do?

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