Daffodils Not Blooming? Here’s What to Do

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A garden expert reveals the reasons why your daffodil plants are not blooming in spring. Plus, identify a mystery double daffodil variety.

Why Are My Daffodil Bulbs Not Blooming in Spring?

Bright yellow daffodilsnicolette wells/Getty Images

Question: Some daffodil bulbs are not blooming in my garden. Is there any hope that they’ll have flowers this coming spring? I do leave the greens until they turn brown. —Mary Anne Christoffersen of Staten Island, New York

Melinda: Frost, excess shade and overcrowding are common reasons for daffodil bulbs not blooming. Buds of early-blooming daffodils are often killed by late spring frosts (Psst—here’s how to find the first and last frost dates). Since the flower buds look similar to a leaf tip when they first expand, the frost damage is often overlooked. In that case, you should have spring blooms if the weather cooperates.

Check out 6 daffodil facts you need to know.

If frost was not an issue, evaluate the amount of sunlight your plants receive. Maturing trees, new structures and additional plantings can increase shade to the point where the plants won’t bloom. Crowding causes a reduction in flowering. Dig and divide overcrowded plants, and move those that are in heavy shade if that’s the problem. Do this as the foliage declines or in fall when you would normally plant new bulbs.

Backyard tip: As the landscape shifts from winter to spring, you may notice early bulbs sprouting, migrating visitors or courting birds building nests. Keep a backyard journal to chronicle these events and become more connected with your patch of nature.

Read more: 10 of the best daffodil bulbs to plant this fall

Identify a Mystery Double Daffodil

14 Stephaniebyrd Bbfm20Courtesy Stephanie Byrd
Cheerfulness daffodil

I grew this bulb a relative gave me—what kind of plant is it? Stephanie Byrd of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Melinda: You might be surprised to discover that your family member gave you a type of daffodil (Narcissus). Your double daffodil variety, Cheerfulness, is just one of many that differ greatly from traditional yellow daffodils. The double flowers of Cheerfulness are fragrant and appear in late spring. Its heat tolerance makes it a smart choice for gardeners in warmer regions like yours.

Next, check out the top 10 showstopping tulip bulbs to plant for spring color.

Each month, Birds & Blooms readers send in their burning questions to gardening expert, Melinda Myers, who is a nationally known, award-winning garden expert, TV/radio host and author of more than 20 books.

Got a gardening question for Melinda? Submit your questions here! They may appear here or in a future issue of the magazine.

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Melinda Myers
Melinda Myers is a nature and gardening writer whose specialty is attracting wildlife, especially birds, to the garden. She contributes regularly to the magazine Birds & Blooms, and lectures widely on creating gardens that please both human and avian visitors.