You did your best – cared for your daffodils by providing them with a conducive environment for them to bloom and flourish. But now that the flowers are gone, should you deadhead daffodils after they bloom? Is it even necessary to do so?
My short answer; you should definitely deadhead them once they are done with blooming. After all, they have already lost their attraction by fading hence spoiling their spring appearance.
But this is not the only reason.
Read on to find out:
Why You Should Deadhead Daffodils After They Bloom
Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flowers. If left alone, the plant will begin the process of seed development assuming pollination took place during flowering.
This and below are the main reasons why you should consider daffodils deadheading after they complete blooming.
Preserve the daffodils attractiveness.
Like we’ve already seen, fading flowers are not very appealing and hence you need to remove them from the plant. Only leave fresh looking flowers to ensure your plants are looking as attractive as possible.
Conserve energy for subsequent flowering.
As a survival mechanism, the plant prioritizes seed formation over any other process by directing all its food energy towards the seed pod. This is not desirable for ornamental flowering plants such as the daffodils.
Although, seed pod formation on daffodils has little impact on plant vigor, it’s still necessary to deadhead them.
Adequate amounts of food must be stored in the bulbs in order for the daffodils to bloom the following spring. And the sooner the conservation begins the better.
Deadheading also means the leaves will have to work less hard to build up the necessary energy reserves for the subsequent flowering.
When to deadhead daffodils
Now that we’ve seen why it’s necessary to deadhead these spring beauties, at what point in time should you remove the spent flowers?
Well, there is actually no right time and you can remove them as soon as you’re able to. A bit of delay won’t cause any damage. However, as a rule of thumb, deadhead flowers that have wilted or that are looking scruffy.
How to deadhead your daffodils
The best and simplest way is to just pinch off the faded blooms with finger and thumb. If you have many spent flowers to deadhead, consider using secateurs, scissor or a knife.
In case you don’t have any of these tools, you can check out this garden pruner that is cheap, lightweight and comfortable for you.
Completely, remove flowers, along with the seed capsule. However, leave the green flower stalk in place as this photosynthesises (produces food), helping to build up the bulb to flower well next season.
Daffodil foliage typically persists for four to six weeks after blooming. During this period, the daffodil foliage is manufacturing food.
Much of the food is transported down to the bulbs.
In order to bloom, daffodils must store adequate levels of food in their bulbs. Cutting off the foliage before it has died back naturally may prevent the plants from storing adequate food in the bulbs.
Allow the daffodil foliage to die completely before removing it.
You’ve deadheaded your daffodils and even cut the leaves back. Now what next?
- Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.
- Once your daffodils have gone by, add bonemeal to the soil for next year’s blooms.
- Make sure your animals to munch on them – daffodils are poisonous to pets.
- Watch out for common pests such as large bulb fly, bulb scale mite, narcissus nematode, slugs, narcissus basal rot and other fungal infections, and viruses.
Deadheading daffodils is not only necessary but also important in ensuring your plants look both attractive and in top shape.
Not to forget; when you deadhead your daffodils, you give them the best chance to conserve energy for the season’s blooming.
Let me know if you found this article helpful in any way. Comment below and happy gardening!
Iowa State University - Yard and Garden: Caring for Daffodils
Featured Image – House Beautiful