Daffodil Info

Growing Tips

Daffodil Cultivation in Australia

Daffodils can be grown in any of the cooler parts of Australia. They require a cold, wet winter and a cool summer if they are to do well. Most parts of Tasmania, the mountain areas of Victoria, hill areas behind Perth, WA and cooler parts of ACT/NSW are suitable for these delightful spring flowering bulbs. They will not tolerate the warmer, humid regions of Australia's north.

Buying Bulbs

The TDC recommends that you purchase exhibition bulbs from specialist growers, listed below. Large quantities for garden plantings or naturalised areas under deciduous trees are also available at reasonable prices.
Standard size daffodils should feel hard and heavy in your hand when you purchase them. Throw away any bulb that feels soft or squishy.


Generally, bulbs are on sale during the summer/early autumn months.
It is best to plant them in March/April when the soil begins to cool down.
Daffodils are not over fussy about soil type and prefer a PH level around neutral. Very light soils can be improved with additions of organic material to improve water retention. Clay soils should be broken up to ensure good drainage.
Bulbs should be planted deeply (nose upwards) 3 times the height of the bulb in lighter soils and about twice the height of the bulb in clay soils. If planting in garden beds, dig a trench to the required depth, cover the base with a thin layer of sand and "screw" the bulb into the ground. The sand helps keep away bugs and basal rot. Cover the bulbs and add a layer of mulch (straw or pine bark).


Daffodils do not require a lot of fertiliser. The flower is formed at the end of the season and held in embryo within the bulb. Too much nitrogen will simply lead to excess leaf growth. A good sprinkle of sulphate of potash, however, is beneficial at planting time and you may choose to add some complete fertiliser after the leaves nose through and again after flowering. Daffodil beds can be mulched with organic fertiliser as well as straw but NEVER dig into the soil manures (such as sheep or mushroom) close to the actual bulbs.


Daffodils need good rainfall from late autumn to spring. The size of the flower is determined by firstly, its genetic makeup and then by the amount of water it receives. Once daffodil leaves are through the ground it is almost impossible to over water the bulbs. If rainfall is light, you should water the bulbs deeply once a week.

After flowering

This is the time when the embryo flower bud forms for next year. Therefore, allow the leaves of all daffodils to die off naturally. Do not cut them even though they look a bit unsightly. Once the foliage has completely died off you can dig the bulbs if you wish.
This is only necessary if bulbs have become overcrowded and need dividing or if you wish to move them to another location.
Do not water bulbs in summer. If they are placed in a bed with other plants and shrubs, they will survive with some watering providing drainage is excellent.
Generally, a clump of bulbs will last many years in the one place if the growing conditions are good.
If holding bulbs in storage, clean them, check for any signs of rot around the root area (basal rot) or other damage and dispose of these. Hang bulbs in net bags in a dry, airy, dark place until planting time.

Trouble shooting

1. Your bulbs failed to grow.
The bulbs may have been in poor condition when you purchased them but most likely, they have rotted. A hot, wet spell in summer may cause bulbs to "steam" just like onions.
A certain percentage of all daffodil bulbs do seem to disappear over time.
2. Your bulbs made lots of foliage but failed to flower.
This may be due to planting in a too shady an area, planting too close to the surface (which causes bulbs to split rather than grow larger) or the bulbs are overcrowded (lift, divide and replant)
3. The flower on a new bulb appears distorted.
Suppliers often heat treat bulbs for sale to ensure healthy bulbs. However, sometimes the heat affects the flower bud causing it to appear distorted. This is not a lasting effect – the flower should appear quite normally next year.
4. "I planted a group of different bulbs but now they are all the same!"
Within any group of bulbs, some will be more vigorous than others will. Over time, the more vigorous bulbs grow, split and produce many more bulbs than their weaker neighbours produce. Eventually the weaker bulbs are squeezed out and only the vigorous varieties remain.
Vigorous bulbs that may well "take over" include (Tazettas) Erlicheer and Paper White.

Dwarf and Miniature Daffodils

A number of suppliers sell smaller daffodil varieties suitable for rock gardens or pot culture, for example, Jetfire and Tete a Tete.
Note: If you want miniature bulbs for exhibition it is wise to order from a specialist supplier as many commercial companies advertise miniature when they should refer to dwarf. (A miniature flower must measure 50mm or less in diameter.)
Clumps of small daffodils look very attractive in a rock garden planted in small pockets of soil between other alpine plants.
N.bulbocodium (hoop petticoat) and its hybrids do well in rockeries. These small bulbs enjoy baking out in summer and like the heat generated by rocks or gravel paths. They flower very early in the winter/spring season and are a welcome addition to the winter garden.
Miniature bulbs are best grown in pots as they are likely to quickly disappear in a general garden bed. Due to their small size, they are more susceptible to rot if conditions are very wet but will also desiccate if allowed to totally dry out for any length of time. Do not hang these tiny bulbs as you would standard bulbs. Plant in pots immediately after purchase. Keep slightly moist in cool conditions (under shade) in summer and place in an open position when temperatures cool in late autumn.

Reproduction by seed

Standard daffodils normally reproduce by bulb division, some increasing by as much as 600% in a season. They can also be grown from seed but standard daffodils may take about seven years to flower. In the meantime, seedlings need to be kept weed free either in special beds or in polystyrene boxes.
Miniature varieties, on the other hand, are less likely to multiply by bulb division – they reproduce by seed in the wild and are easy to grow from seed in the home garden. Allow seed pods to develop and drop naturally in the rock garden or in wide pots and they may reward you with a natural increase. Seedpods can be collected when they "rattle" in late spring and the seed sown in a well drained potting mix, in boxes. (Seed is planted fresh at the beginning of summer, kept cool and dry until it is placed out to catch the rain in autumn). Seedlings will appear like blades of grass in the first year, growing two leaves in the second year and often flowering in the third year.

Daffodil Classification

Please follow links:

Recommended Bulb Specialists


Jackson`s Daffodils

Surges Bay, Tasmania Ph/Fax (03) 62976203


Glenbrook Bulb Farm

28 Russell Road, Claremont 7011