Q: A lot of my daffodils this year just produced leaves and no flowers – is there something that I can do to improve things for next year?
A: Daffodil blindness is where the plant looks reasonably healthy with no flowers at all, or the stem grows an ‘empty’ bud at the end.
The most likely cause is that the bulbs have been starved of water and nutrients over the previous year, making them shrivel up. During droughts, we tend to forget to feed and water the plants that are out of sight at the time
Established daffodil bulbs clumps can become overcrowded. Dig them up every 3-4 years, and separate them out before replanting.
The best time to do this is early autumn. Ensure that they are placed into a fresh, well-fertilised site, with plenty of room to develop. Discard any bulbs that feel soft.
Q: There are several plants that I would like to move – is it too late in the year to do this?
A: There can be no doubt that the best time to move a plant is during the dormant season ie during the winter months, but not when the soil is frozen.
Start by digging the destination hole first. Try and lift the plant with as much soil ball in tact as possible.. Make the move from old to destination hole as swiftly as possible – do not leave the plant around with its roots exposed with the danger of drying out.
Put some water retaining crystals at the bottom of the hole, and mix in with the soil.
Make sure that the original soil line around the plant is equal to the destination hole’s surrounding soil, so that a previously air-borne stem is now not covered in soil.
Also make sure that the orientation is correct – ie if the back of the plant was originally against the fence, then make sure that it sits similarly in the new position.
Firm in well and water really well regularly, until you are satisfied that the roots have settled.