When Do You Cut Back Tulips And Daffodils

After they bloom in the spring is the ideal time to prune. Allow the seed capsule to rot and the blossom to totally fall. Pruning is permitted once the green leaves have begun to die back and become brown.

Cut the dead daffodil leaves as close to the ground as you can while pruning. The bulb won’t receive the nutrients it needs to store for the following season if the stems are cut too soon. The bulb should not be clipped if the leaves are still green.

Braided Daffodil Leaves

Some people braid daffodil leaves. (See illustration on the right.) The Daffodil Society advises against braiding daffodil leaves because they require sunlight to fully repair the bulb beneath. The following year’s flowers may suffer if the bulb doesn’t fully recover.

It is preferable to hold off on cutting the leaves for the other bulbs until they have turned brown. Pull any dead leaves with care to examine if the bulb is ready to be cut. If the leaves fall off easily, the bulb has absorbed all the nutrients it requires for the upcoming season and is prepared to prune. Every bulb is utilised with this method.

When may I trim back my daffodils?

None. The two terms are equivalent. Like ilex is for hollies, narcissus is the Latin or botanical term for all daffodils. The ADS advises against using the common name “daffodil” for any member of the genus Narcissus except when writing scientifically. Return to Top

What is a jonquil?

In some regions of the nation, any yellow daffodil is wrongly referred to as a jonquil. The majority of jonquil species and hybrids have many yellow flowers, a potent perfume, and rounded leaves. The hybrids are limited to Division 7, hence the term “jonquil” should only be used to refer to Division 7 daffodils or Division 13 species that are known to be members of the jonquil group. Return to Top

How many kinds of daffodils are there?

There are between 40 and 200 distinct daffodil species, subspecies, or variants of species, and more than 32,000 registered cultivars (also known as hybrids), distributed throughout the thirteen divisions of the official classification system, according to the botanist you speak with. Return to Top

Will squirrels and other rodents eat daffodil bulbs?

No. Only specific insects can freely consume the toxic crystals found in the bulbs and leaves. However, they might dig up the bulbs. Return to Top

Are daffodils expensive?

Prices for bulbs range from approximately $1 to over $100, depending on a cultivar’s rarity or newness, not necessarily on how desirable it is. Prize-winning display cultivars can often be purchased for less than $2.50. Even less expensive cultivars are available for naturalising, although mixes of unknown cultivars are not advised. Return to Top

How long do daffodil bulbs last?

They should outlive any of us if given the proper growing conditions. Daffodils should grow, however some types of bulbs have a tendency to diminish and disappear. Return to Top

How do daffodils multiply?

Daffodils grow by asexual cloning (bulb division), which produces identical duplicates of the flower, and sexual reproduction (from seed), which produces new, distinct flowers.

The swelling just beneath the flower petals is called the seed pod (ovary), where seeds grow. The seed pod usually swells after bloom but is empty of seeds. On occasion, pollen from new flowers might be carried by wind or insects to the flower while it is in bloom. When this occurs, one or a few seeds will be present in the seed pod.

By lightly brushing pollen from one bloom onto the stigma of another, daffodil hybridizers fertilise flowers. The developing seed pod can then have up to 25 seeds inside of it. Each of these will result in a brand-new plant, although a plant produced from seed takes roughly 5 years to blossom. Return to Top

How long is the flowering season of daffodils?

Depending on where you reside and the cultivars you cultivate, from six weeks to six months. After flowering, allow the daffodil plant to regenerate its bulb for the following season. While everything is going on, the leaves continue to be green. You can remove the leaves as they start to turn yellow, but not before. Return to Top

What are miniature daffodils?

Sizes of daffodils range from half-inch blossoms on 2-inch stems to 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems. The ADS has established that certain species and named cultivars are miniatures and must compete alone in daffodil displays, mostly for show purposes but also to provide gardening advice. Miniature lists that are up to date are published in the Daffodil Journal and are also available individually from the ADS. Return to Top

Are daffodils difficult to grow?

No. They are perhaps the simplest and most dependable flower families, making them perfect for a starting gardener in the majority of American states. Return to Top

Do you need to deadhead daffodils?

When daffodils have finished blooming, you can dead head the bloom to redirect energy away from seed development and toward developing the bulb for the following year’s blossom. The leaves should be left to naturally wither away until they are at least yellow before being removed. Return to Top

When should you cut back daffodils?

It is advised not to trim back daffodil leaves until they have at least turned yellow. To build the bloom for the following year, they utilise the energy in their leaves. After the blooms have faded, daffodils continue to absorb nutrients for around six weeks. They require plenty of sunlight and a steady supply of water throughout this time. The plant’s leaves gradually turn yellow and die back as the daffodil bulbs develop.

Daffodil leaves removed by mowing or pruning back shortly after blossoming will severely reduce your bulbs. Similar to dryness, it inhibits the formation of food stores and their storage in bulbs for the future. Return to Top

Can daffodils be grown throughout the United States?

Daffodils are grown all the way to the Canadian border because they can withstand frigid temperatures, especially when covered in snow. Only a few delicate cultivars, typically tazettas, like the well-known Paper White, are an exception. Daffodils can also be grown in the South, with the exception of Florida’s non-frosty regions. For the commencement of flower buds, a natural or forced cold treatment is required. There are specific varieties and named cultivars that have been shown to perform better than others along a limited zone along the Gulf of Mexico that extends from Florida to Texas. Return to Top

Will daffodils grow in the shade?

They have done flowering and the foliage has started to mature by the time deciduous trees begin to leaf out, thus they will grow in the shade of deciduous trees. However, it is preferable to grow them above rather than below deciduous trees’ drip lines. Additionally, tap-rooted deciduous trees are preferred to shallow-rooted trees. Daffodils won’t last very long in the presence of evergreen trees and plants. Return to Top

Do ground covers have an adverse effect on daffodils?

The fertility of the soil and the aggressivity of the ground cover will determine how well the two compete for nutrients and moisture. Daffodils are likely to be discouraged by vigorous, tall-growing, and deeply-rooted species like pachysandra and ivy, but they typically thrive in the presence of shallow-rooted, trailing plants like myrtle, foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), or creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera). Return to Top

Why should I exhibit at daffodil shows?

for the fulfilment of contributing to the presentation of a magnificent show of a flower whose variety and virtues are too poorly known to the general public and other gardeners. A display will also provide you the opportunity to meet people who share your passion for daffodils and to observe the blooms of the newest kinds. Eventually, awards may be given in recognition of your talent, and you could then want to enrol in the courses and exams necessary to become an Accredited Judge. Return to Top

How are tulips and daffodils pruned?

We had big fields of daffodils in the front of our sunny border this spring and two pots loaded with flowers by our front door. Daffodils are one of the most well-liked early bloomers, and for good reason. This year’s daffodils really stood out in our garden, and the neighbours were very kind as well.

Unfortunately, the foliage and stalks look awful when the blooms are gone, and most gardeners are eager to cut them off or hide them from view.

Why You Shouldn’t Cut Back Daffodils and Other Bulbs Too Early

Bulb plants rely on photosynthesis to provide enough energy in the form of carbohydrates stored in the bulb for them to be able to produce blooms.

The plant leaves are essential for photosynthesis, which is the process of converting light, carbon dioxide, and water into energy.

Daffodils, alliums, and tulips won’t have enough stored energy to bloom the next year if the foliage is trimmed back too soon after the flowers have faded. It might only develop leaves, or it might create a delicate, little blossom.

Simply put, you must leave the leaves in place for a sufficient amount of time for the bulb to produce enough stored energy.

Keep Watering and Feeding the Bulb

You should keep watering and feeding the plant as usual, up until the leaves have fallen off naturally or you’ve cut them off, to maximise the likelihood that the bulb will produce a robust and healthy flower the following year.

If your bulbs are in pots, which are more susceptible to dry out, this is especially crucial.

When to Deadhead Flowers on Daffodils, Tulips and Alliums

The following is the ideal time to remove the faded flowers from alliums, tulips, and daffodils:

DaffodilsOnce the flower has faded, cut off the head at the base of the stem or just below the blossom. By preventing the daffodils from producing seeds, deadheading conserves energy.


Just clip off the faded flower head as described above, or cut off the entire stalk at ground level.

AlliumsAllium blossoms create a beautiful decorative accent, so many gardeners opt to keep the dried, faded flowers in situ all summer long. I remove the heads soon as they start to fade because I think it gives the landscape an autumnal atmosphere. After a few weeks, you can leave them where they are, cut the entire stalk off at the ground, and if you choose, put the dried bloom in a vase indoors.

When to Cut Back Daffodils, Tulip and Alliums

Daffodils, tulips, and alliums should ideally not be pruned at all; instead, the leaves should be allowed to naturally wither away.

Unfortunately, you might need to trim them back for aesthetic reasons because the yellow and brown leaf could destroy the garden’s beauty.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t prune back daffodils, tulips, or alliums until the foliage has gone yellow and begun to shrivel.

Yellow stalks and leaves that have shrunk and turned shrivelled indicate that the bulb has finished conserving its energy from photosynthesis and is going to enter dormancy.

This typically happens 68 weeks after the plant’s flowering cycle is complete. The bulb, the state of the ground, and the weather will all affect how long it takes.

How to Cut Back the Leaves and Foliage

When it is safe to prune yellow plant foliage, you simply need to wait at least six weeks after the last flowers have gone, give the foliage a little pull, and if it yields readily, you can proceed to prune the leaves down to the ground.

Just above ground level, I clip off the yellow stalk and foliage with secateurs.

How to Hide the Ugly Foliage Naturally

Very few gardeners, especially in the spring, prefer to see patches of wilting leaves in their borders and containers.

Large flower heads are produced on tall stalks by alliums, but the foliage is notoriously ugly. You can conceal the foliage while highlighting the blossom by putting alliums among decorative grasses.

Coneflowers and Hardy Geraniums, which had grown to be large enough to conceal them approximately 3 weeks after the tulips lost their flowers, were used in the past when I wanted to conceal tulip foliage.

French lavender blooms early (ours was in flower by early May in 2021) and I’ve successfully planted tulips behind them in the past.

Daffodils are more challenging to conceal because they typically bloom earlier than most other plants. Hostas and other perennials with large leaves would be effective at concealing their wilting foliage.

Tulip, daffodil, and allium plants should be planted further back in the border than fast-growing plants, in my opinion. Hardy Geraniums are a fantastic option because they can expand from the size of a fist to that of a bucket in about a week.

Should The Bulbs Be Lifted?

“After the foliage has faded, the bulbs are lifted from the ground, cleaned, and stored until a later time in the year when they are best planted.

As a general rule, bulbs that are buried beneath other plants can be left in place and don’t necessarily need to be lifted.

However, elevating bulbs has advantages, so here is our guide for daffodils, tulips, and alliums:

DaffodilsSome daffodils will perform quite well for several years if left in the same position, so you don’t need to lift them every year. The majority of daffodils will, however, get smaller and shorter after a few years in the same spot, and one year they might not even flower. Every few years, the majority of gardeners lift their daffodils, clean them, store them until late autumn, and then replant them in the ground. We advise stirring the soil with a spade and adding some fresh compost or bulb fibre if you wish to replant them in the same location.


Tulips typically only bloom once a year; the majority of odd varieties exhibit this behaviour. Some classic bulbs may bloom again the following year, but there is no assurance of this. Once the foliage has died back, you must lift your tulips, clean them, and clip the old roots before storing them in a cool, dry place until planting time in the fall if you want them to return the following year. Relocate them to a less significant section of the garden instead of relying on them to return the next year, and buy new bulbs for your main borders and pots.

AlliumsThese bulbs should be plucked and divided every three to four years because they can grow to be fairly huge and reproduce. You can replant them in the same location; simply rake the soil and sprinkle some compost or bulb fibre on top. Discover our allium growing guide here. We adore alliums and have been growing them for a few years.

A Quick Recap

Here is a brief summary of the important ideas:

  • If at all feasible, let the foliage naturally fall back so that the bulb can store energy for the following year.
  • Before pruning back foliage, which should be dead and yellow, wait at least six weeks.
  • Up until the foliage dies, keep watering and feeding the bulb.
  • Leaves shouldn’t be tied in knots.
  • While certain bulbs need be lifted more frequently, others can be kept in the same spot for a few years.
  • Make careful companion plant selections that will emerge at precisely the correct moment to hide the ugly yellow foliage.