When to Plant Daffodils?

The Daffodil species and cultivars have a huge range of hardiness zones. There are specific growing tips for each region in the US. So depending on your location the right time to plant daffodils can vary a lot.

So when to plant daffodils? In short, the best time to plant daffodil bulbs is in the fall about 2 to 4 weeks before the ground freezes. Daffodils need a cold period to bloom. You should check your local frost dates to see exactly when the ground starts to freeze.

Hardiness Zone

You need to know if a plant can survive the cold or hot temperatures where you live. The USDA collects data from weather stations and publishes maps of national hardiness zones.

You can find your hardiness zone and it’s average low temperature by entering your ZIP Code at the United States Department of Agriculture homepage.

Knowing the gardening zone that you are in can help you decide what to plant where you live. Some crops grow better in some zones, while others don’t.

Most of the time, if you are ordering from a seed catalog, it will tell you which zone the seeds or plants grow better in. Local plant nurseries carry plants that grow well in your area. Without these zones, you would be stuck with trial and error.

Daffodil bulbs will begin the first stage of growth by making a shallow root system to get nutrients and moisture. The bulbs go through a chemical change, it keeps them from freezing and they will stay dormant until spring.

What are the Best Daffodils Variants for My Zone?

The North East (Zones 1 – 3)The South East (Zones 4 – 7)The South (Zones 8 – 9)The North East (Zones 9 – 10)
Every Variety except tazettas
and bulbocodiums.
Jonquilla Cylemineus All Daffodil variants can easily grow here!
Tazetta Triandrus
Large Cup Jonquillas
Tazetta

Best Daffodils For The North East

All of the Daffodil varieties grow easily here, except tazettas and bulbocodiums. These can grow on the coast because winters are milder there.

For added protection, once the soil freezes, put down some evergreen boughs or chopped leaves. Simply pull the mulch away in early spring.

Best Daffodils In The South East

Due to heavy, summer rain and humidity, it’s better to plant Daffodils where there’s sharp drainage, raised beds or on a hill. You don’t want the bulbs to rot. If possible, take them up and store in a dry area, then re-plant in fall.

Since there’s intense heat, plant the Daffodils where they will get part shade as the weather warms.

Jonquilla, Tazetta and some Large Cup Daffodils work well in the South East.

Best Daffodils For The South

Daffodils do well even in the hot, dry weather of the southernmost areas of this region.

Cylemineus, Triandrus, Jonquillas and Tazetta grow best in the South West.

Best Daffodils In The North West

Just about every type of Daffodil will grow west of the Rockies.

Bulbs should be planted in fall before the rainy season. Don’t water the bulbs or they are likely to rot before the weather cools.

Some areas get more than 5” of rain monthly in summer. You should lift the bulbs.

Tazettas can tolerate summer moisture. Most Daffodils thrive.

The time to plant Daffodil bulbs is in fall. Depending on where you live, it can also be September to late November.

Choose The Daffodil Variety

This can be a difficult task because there are hundreds of daffodil varieties. Botanically, it’s a narcissus, but most call it a Daffodil. The bright yellow flower lets you know that spring has sprung. Bulbs are a one-way ticket to a very colorful garden.

There are daffodils with huge flowers, then there are mini daffodils. Bulbs can come with yellow, orange, pink, white, even bi-colored flowers. Places even sale “100-day mixes” of bulbs, so you can enjoy an extended daffodil season. They are long-lasting perennials.

With a successful Daffodil field, you can enjoy beautiful flowers 30 – 50 years.

Large-Cupped Daffodils

Known as the workhorses because this variety is good for showing, forcing, naturalizing, bedding and picking. The colors come in every shade of yellow, white, red, pink and orange.

Miniature Daffodils / Cyclamineus

Usually 6” or shorter, these include all forms of daffodils in a small package. These are perfect for patio containers, niches between tree roots and rock gardens.

Bulbs will vary in size and can produce multiple flower stems.

Trumpet Daffodils

Most commonly known and the best Daffodils for bedding has one big flower per stem.

These grow better in the middle or northern states. Officially classified a trumpet if it’s as long or even longer than the outside petals.

Double Daffodils

Instead of a trumpet in the middle, it’s a cluster of petals.

Double daffodils have as many as 20 flowers per stem. Good for picking, bedding and show.

Poeticus Daffodils

Radiant flowers with white petals, favoring the flowering Dogwood with red-rimmed cups and an outstanding fragrance. They believe in saving the best for last, very late bloomers.

Better grown in cooler areas. Great for borders, naturalizing and of arrangements.

Jonquilla Daffodils

Perfect for the Deep South heat. Leaves are dark green, grass-like below several small, nice fragrant flowers.

Split Corona Daffodils

Quite unlike other Daffodils, these are unique flowers that are split at least 1/2 its length, open-faced as opposed to the trumpet.

These flowers offer lots of color, so they are great for mass planting.

Small-Cupped Daffodils

The cups are only about 1/3 the length of the outer petals. Wonderful for cutting, but great for naturalizing, contribute lots of color to a mixed border in the springtime.

Triandrus Daffodils

Multiple Fuschia-like blossoms with the outer petals swept back.

Great for rock gardens, cutting and bedding. Have an awesome fruity fragrance.

Tazetta Daffodils

Gives the Deep South a musky sweet fragrance with multiple flowers per stem.

They work good for picking, forcing and bedding.

Narcissus Bulbocodium / Petticoat Daffodils

Grows 4” – 6” tall, deep yellow trumpet-shaped flowers with grass-like leaves.

The trumpet is extremely large compared to the outer sections and consists of tiny pointed segments.

Where To Plant Daffodils

Daffodils love the sun. Plant them where they will get at least six hours of bright sunlight. If planted in the shade, green leaves will still be produced, but they will not bloom.

Like other bulbs, they need well-drained soil, otherwise the bulb will rot. The bulb should be planted between 1.5” and 5” deep.

They will grow in most regions except the hottest and wettest areas, like South Florida. They are great for forcing blooms indoors, planting between shrubs, in large groves and in a woodland garden.