by Wayne Steele
Member, Northern California Daffodil Society
The following information is how I grow daffodils for competing in daffodil shows. For everyday growing, you can probably increase the number of bulbs placed in a pot.
It is preferable to use 2 gallon pots for standard size daffodils and 1 gallon size for miniatures and small bulbs. Sterilize used pots with Clorox and let them drain.
The soil mixture I’ve developed is a ratio of 1 part perlite to 3 parts sterilized soil. In the bottom of the pot, over a little soil, place a pinch of 0-10-10 fertilizer. Do not let the bulb come in contact with the fertilizer. Try to place the bulb about 1/3 of the way from the top of the pot. If you plant too close to the surface, the new roots will push the bulbs above the ground. Place only one medium size bulb in a 1 gallon pot. Depending on the size of the bulbs, place 3 to 4 in a 2 gallon pot. If the bulbs are on the small side, maybe plant 5 bulbs.
If you see a bulb raising its head out of the ground, dump out the soil and carefully replant the bulb or bulbs at a lower level in the pot. For show bulbs, I prefer they do not touch each other. My rule of thumb is to place them at least the diameter of the bulbs apart with the same distance from the side of the pot.
After the 1st of November, heavily water the pots as it takes time for the peat moss in the super soil to completely saturate with water. Water every day for the first week. If you see pots drying out on top, give these extra water.
Since our tap water is alkaline and daffodils prefer an acid soil, add about 1 teaspoon of Ironite (TM) for 1 gallon pots and 2 teaspoons for 2 gallon pots. This helps keep the soil acidic.
After blooming, add a pinch of 5-10-10 fertilizer to the pot. This gives the plant a little added potassium and helps build the bulb for next year’s bloom.
If a daffodil dies in one of the pots, I do not use that soil for daffodils again, but for other plants.
Please note: Wayne is an award winning grower who plants all his daffodils in pots.
Additional Notes from Nancy Wilson, member of Northern California Daffodil Society:
Narcissus appreciate a summer baking. They do well in pots and containers deep enough to let their roots run.
Six weeks after blooming turn the pot on it’s side and place out of the way. Turn it up again in the fall to start another year of bloom. You can keep bulbs in a pot for two or three years, then dry them off, clean the bulbs and store them in a nylon stocking or paper bag, label and put in a dry place until fall.
For those of you who live in an area where there are severe winters, (temperature drops below freezing), you will need to store your potted daffodils either in a green house or garage. When the temperature is not dropping below freezing, bring the pots out of storage, place in a location where they will receive full sun and water the pots thoroughly.