Alan Titchmarsh shares ‘important’ tip on how to ‘guarantee’ daffodil bulbs every year

Alan Titchmarsh shares tips for caring for daffodils

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Daffodils, also known by their botanical name narcissus, are easy and reliable spring-flowering bulbs. This means by May, they can start to look a little worse for wear and may need some extra care to guarantee they bloom next year. Speaking on YouTube in 2014, Alan Titchmarsh shared his top tips on how to prep daffodils once they have finished flowering.

When daffodils have finished flowering, they often keep their green stems but have a brown head on them.

Speaking with Waitrose & Partners, Alan revealed how to make sure they return next year.

He explained: “The trouble with daffodils once they finish flowering is they’re not a thing of beauty.

“They do seem to last like this forever but it’s important that you make sure that next year’s flowers will be just as brilliantly produced as this year’s.”

In order for them to remain healthy, you must remove the brown leaves from the top of the flower. 

The easiest way to do this is by pulling them off with your finger and thumb.

Alan revealed that this stops them from “setting seed” as well as helping to save their energy.

He added: “The other danger is that you think it’s really so tatty, ‘I’m going to have to take a pair of shears to it and cut it off at ground level’.

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“Stay your hand. What it’s doing, both stalks  and leaves with the help of sunlight, is producing food that’s sent back down into bulbs to fuel next year’s flowers.

“So leave it a good six weeks.”

When the six weeks are up, Alan explained that you can scissor it off.

To help them bloom beautifully next year, the expert suggested giving them a feed.

As an organic gardener, Alan used blood, fish and bones to feed his daffodils.

He sprinkled the feed around the daffodils using around a handful.

Alan said: “A couple of handfuls to a clump is not too generous and that way the combination of taking off those seed heads allowing the sun to photosynthesise through the leaves and stalks that feed the bulbs, and using fertiliser around them will guarantee you flowers next year.”

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) also recommends waiting until the foliage turns yellow before cutting them down.

This is usually six weeks after the flower finishes.

The website said: “Don’t be tempted to tie the leaves into a knot either, to keep them neat.

“Daffodil leaves should be allowed to photosynthesise for as long as possible, so they can fully replenish the energy reserves in the bulb, for a good flowering display the next year.

“If you move the leaves too early, you may reduce flowering next spring.”

The plant will also naturally produce new bulbs over time, and for those wanting to propagate them, the RHS explained that you can do so by seeds, division and chipping the bulbs.

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