Is your garden too small to plant bulbs in the ground? You don’t have to miss out, because daffodils (narcissus) grow well in pots too. Just follow our tips and you can’t go far wrong. With our expertise and a little TLC from you, you can give your daffodils everything they need to thrive and create a long-lasting display of stunning potted daffodils.
1. Choose your daffodil variety
Which varieties of daffodil are best suited to pots? All daffodil varieties are suitable for growing in pots, but short-stemmed daffodils are the easiest option; these varieties won’t need any support because they don’t grow very tall. They can also be grown in smaller, shallower pots, because the roots and stems don’t get too long and heavy. So choose a great colour, like white daffodils or yellow daffodils or choose beautiful shapes. Such as double daffodils or multi headed daffodils.
TIP: Plant plenty of bulbs and check which varieties are best suited to your garden.
2. Choose the right pot
The pot needs to be at least three times taller than your bulb (approx. 15 cm). It’s important that the pot is deep enough for the daffodils to put out roots and to prevent the compost from drying out too quickly. Make sure that there’s a hole in the bottom of the pot to allow excess water to drain. You can plant your bulbs closer together than you would in the ground; make sure they are no more than one bulb width (4–5 cm) apart, or position them side by side if you prefer. Plant the daffodil bulbs in the compost. Place a layer of crocks, clay hydrogranules or gravel at the bottom of your pot to enhance drainage; daffodil bulbs don’t like being wet.
You can use any type of pot, from ceramic or plastic to wood or metal. Barrels or stone containers can also work well, as can a zinc bucket or tub. Terracotta pots are not suitable for placing outside in winter as there’s a risk that they will freeze and crack.
TIP: For a cost-effective option, you can also plant your bulbs in the plastic buckets or builders’ tubs that you find in DIY stores. Drill a few holes (around 1 centimetre in diameter) in the base of the tub to allow water to drain. Hide your ‘uglier’ buckets behind more attractive pots, or position them between other plants in your garden to create more height.
3. Choose the right time of year
Plant daffodils in pots from October to the end of December. Get your bulbs potted up before the first overnight frost so that they have time to put out roots. Daffodils can withstand frost or snow, but make sure that the pots are protected against longer periods of very heavy frost by adding a layer of straw or bubblewrap to the pot. You can also move your pots into the shed during very frosty spells; this will keep your pots looking their best too.
4. Fill the pots
Follow the steps below to fill your pots and make sure your potted daffodils turn into beautiful blooms.
- Place a layer of crocks, clay hydrogranules or gravel in the base of the pot to enhance drainage.
Scatter a layer of compost over the crocks, hydrogranules or gravel.
3. Plant the daffodil bulbs in the compost with the pointed end facing upwards. Use plenty of bulbs to create a colourful display.
4. Add a layer of compost (approx. 10 cm thick) on top of the bulbs and press it down firmly.
5. Finally, water the bulbs.
TIP: Plant winter-hardy violas on top of your potted-up bulbs and enjoy the flowers all winter. In spring, the daffodils will emerge between the flowers.
Caring for daffodils
After planting your daffodils in pots, water the pot lightly but don't soak it. Use a watering can to keep the flow steady and distribute the water evenly. Keep watering your daffodils if the soil is very dry. Wait until the first shoots start to emerge.