Mistake of Planting Daffodils in Shade Prevents Them from Blooming

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Mistake of Planting Daffodils in Shade Prevents Them from Blooming

When it comes to gardening, the choice of what to plant is always a personal one. However, there are some popular options that are easy to grow, low-maintenance, and beautiful. Daffodils are a great choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. They are rugged perennials that bloom early in the spring, making them a great way to brighten up a garden that is recovering from winter.

Daffodils come in a wide range of colors and shapes, with thousands of varieties to choose from. They are also resistant to deer and rodents and attract early-season pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Another benefit is that they spread and naturalize easily. One thing to keep in mind when planting daffodils is that they require a certain amount of sunlight. Planting them in too much shade may be the reason why they are not blooming. So, make sure to choose a variety that is suitable for the amount of sun available in your garden.

Daffodils need a lot of sunlight

Dying daffodils

Paul Maguire/Shutterstock

Daffodils are sun-loving plants, thriving on at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, and planting in insufficient sunlight is a common mistake when planting daffodils. These flowering plants can also tolerate full sun, and while they can technically deal with some shade, planting them there isn’t ideal. If they must be in some darkness, it’s better to have them enjoy afternoon shade after a full morning of direct sun.

Shade restricts the amount of sunlight available for photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight into energy for growth and flowering. Insufficient sunlight directly impacts flowering, so less sun impedes flower production. In the shade, you’ll likely see fewer blooms, if any at all, as the daffodil will prioritize producing green foliage over colorful flowers. Too much shade can also lead to stunted growth, with daffodils appearing weak and leggy. They may struggle to reach their full height and produce healthy leaves. They may also not bloom the following year.

Certain types of daffodils can be an exception

Daffodils growing under trees

Jerry Gantar/Shutterstock

It’s always better to plant daffodils in locations that receive full sun throughout the day, whenever possible, to ensure they have access to the maximum amount of sunlight needed to produce their blossoms. However, if shade is unavoidable in your garden, you can choose a shade-tolerant variety. Two popular options are Jenny and Jack Snipe. Jenny daffodils are yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers with white petals, reaching a height of around one foot tall. Jack Snipe has white petals that reach about 8-10 inches tall. Both varieties are known for their extended blooming periods, lasting up to six weeks in early to mid-spring.

If you plant daffodils under deciduous trees, that can work, as these trees lose their leaves in winter. This allows sunlight to reach the daffodils during their blooming period from late winter to early spring.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.