The Great Daffodil Disaster of 2017

Warning: this post may be upsetting to younger or more sensitive readers. It’s upsetting to me, though few would call me “younger” and “sensitive” would probably be subject to debate.

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Don’t look! Victims of the disaster.

So some of you may remember that I’ve been anxiously awaiting the appearance of the roughly 120 daffodils planted last fall in containers around the back garden. They were among the mix of 200 free Colorblends Daffodils Judy and I got as swag from last year’s Garden Bloggers’ Fling.

I was especially anxious because all my other Daffodils have emerged and are getting ready to bloom, including the 80 or so Colorblends Daffodils planted in the parkway.

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One of the Colorblends Daffodils in the parkway is ALMOST ready to bloom.

Today I had the pleasure of puttering around the garden under a warm sun, but my gaze kept wandering over to the containers where the Daffodils were a no show.  Finally, I couldn’t take it any more. I grabbed one of the smallest containers and dumped the contents onto the ground.

What I found was a bunch of squishy and slimy (in other words, dead) Daffodil bulbs. I dumped out two more containers and got the same results.

The culprit here is obvious: bad drainage. As a rule, bulbs hate sitting in water. Clearly I failed to cut adequate drainage holes into the containers. There really is no excuse for this – I absolutely know better. However, I was in a hurry and did an inadequate job.

It’s odd because good drainage is perhaps even more important for Tulips, but I have not had this problem with the Tulips planted in containers. Clearly I was paying closer attention with the Tulips. Perhaps this is a tragic case of bulb favoritism.

Another concern: I planted Hostas in a few of the containers that also included Daffodils. I found one of them, and it was dormant but looked like it was still alive. We’ll see.

I was really looking forward to containers full of blooming Daffodils this spring. Now I’m sad and chastened, but I am not giving up. I should let the organizers know that free bulbs would make excellent swag for this year’s Garden Bloggers’ Fling – in fact, we could make it a tradition. (Are you reading this, Tammy?)

54 Comments on “The Great Daffodil Disaster of 2017

  1. Sad and funny at the same time. I’m seriously sorry for your loss. I’d be disappointed too.

  2. It’s a good thing you’ll be getting a coupon for more bulbs from the Fling this summer. 🙂 Daffs hate pots. I’ve killed some that way, too. Try growing them in wire containers lined with burlap and filled with potting soil. I did that with my tulips and finally didn’t kill them! Woo hoo!

  3. sorry for your loss. would drive me round the bend, too, if I had finished off plants this way.

  4. Oh very disappointing… But planting all bulbs is such a leap of faith … But who can resist trying!

  5. Sorry about your daffodil loss. At the rate mine are coming up, I doubt I will have blooms for Easter. I did find a lone crocus blooming yesterday. Some critter must have dug it up from someplace and planted it in my yard. I’d send a Thank You out but it is small payment for the rest of the damage they do.

  6. I can imagine your frustration. (I’m trying not to think about the tulip acuminata I’ve over- watered and lost – even with the flowers starting to form.)

  7. This is so sad, Jason! I had the same problem the first time I tried tulips in a pot–the drainage holes would have been fine, except I put the pot right under a leaky gutter, and they drowned:)

  8. It’s probably too late to start over this year, but there’s always next year for new daffodils.

  9. Oh doesn’t that make you want to kick yourself in the behind. You will remember this when you pot up some other bulbs. Take your time. You can do it.

  10. I’m so sorry Jason. This spring I have the problem with tulips bulbs, forced for spring. None of them bloomed, have no idea why.

  11. Oops, sorry about that. Losses in the garden can be tough to take. Especially when you’ve waited and anticipated something for some time. I’ve never tried growing bulbs in containers. It always struck me as perhaps being more trouble than it was worth.

  12. That’s so disheartening…I had a favorite grass that was doing poorly, so I transplanted it into a pot last summer…suddenly realized at one point it was practically dead…due to bad drainage 😦

    • I also have to be careful transplanting grasses here, nothing that isn’t hardy to zone 3 will make it through the winter.

  13. So sorry to see this. I don’t have any daffodils but I am still anxiously waiting to see what happens with all the stuff I planted last summer, maybe not so much in a hurry but it seemed to be a lot of effort, and maybe the little holes I dug were too tempting for squirrels to resist… Wish it were easier for all of us.

  14. Oh dear… Maybe don’t bother with daffs in containers next year and plant them all in the ground? Hope your other daffs bloom profusely.

  15. Oh, that’s so sad – I’m actually surprised that you are able to successfully overwinter anything in pots. I’ve always avoided leaving anything (other than succulents) in containers outdoors as I always assumed that they wouldn’t survive through fluctuating temperatures over the winter.

  16. Hello Jason, that’s a shame, we’re having a similar no-show with fritillaria that we naturalised in grass, we’ve only seen two sets of flowerless leaves out a hundred planted. Will you be re-doing these pots for next year?

  17. So sad….Water can be so destructive. Seems like a constant battle between too much and too little. Hope you still have lots of other blooms to announce spring.

  18. Oh gosh, that is sad. I wonder if it’s because the winter was so mild, too? And then March was wet and cold after a mild February. Mine seem a little stressed, too, but they’re in the ground. They came up and formed buds, which have been living in a state of suspended animation for weeks. One of these warm days, they will pop. At least the rabbits don’t eat the daffodils!

  19. Oh NOOOOOOOO….what a disaster! Most of my daffs came up blind so lots of leaves but not much else….sighs….xxx

  20. Argh, just dump the pots and never look back. That’s what I always do.
    You know what adds insult to injury? Finding a bulb or two which you dropped on the ground and seeing that rooting in and growing leaves.

    • I have had that very experience. My reaction is always: 1) what’s the point of trying so hard?; and 2) is it possible these plants are better off without us?

  21. Sorry for your loss of so many beautiful daffodils. I am surprised our daffs do so well here in spite of how much rain we get, but is it generally warmer in winter than where you are.

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