How To Naturalize Daffodils: Planting Daffodils Under Sod

Have you ever grown daffodils in the sod? It is a simple type of gardening that eliminates weeding, watering, fertilizing, spraying, and transplanting. Planted in this manner, they are called naturalized daffodils.

Daffodils will grow anywhere in the United States except the extreme South. And you can naturalize daffodils even if you don’t have a great deal of land.

Flowering daffodils near pond edgePin

Perhaps there is a spot on your property beneath an apple tree, along a gardening wall, before some evergreens, or in front of a hedge that could be devoted to daffodils.

If you have an extra piece of undeveloped land next to your home, you are particularly fortunate, for naturalized daffodils will enhance its beauty and value.

Methods For Planting Daffodils

A crowbar can be used to plant daffodils in the sod. Just plunge the instrument into the ground, wiggle it about until you have a hole large enough to accommodate the bulb, put in a handful of garden loam mixed with bone meal, and the bulb is planted.

To plant with a spade, cut a V in the sod, lift up, tuck the bulb in and step down on the grass.

There is a special planter called the Barr planter, made in England, that cuts a cylindrical piece of sod out of the earth. The bulb is put in the hole, the cylinder replaced and the sod stepped down on. This special planter is recommended only when extensive planting is to be done.

How Deep and Where Do You Plant Daffodils?

As a rule daffodils are planted six to eight inches deep, depending on the size of the bulb. When I use a spade I just plunge it into the ground twice, lift up the sod like the bulkhead of a cellar and tuck the bulb in. Depth is automatically taken care of by the depth of the spade plus the little fall in of dirt and the bit of compost which may be added.

Avoid cheap bulb mixtures. Plant named varieties. Catalogs of reputable bulb dealers will suggest good varieties to naturalize.

Even to naturalize daffodils in a small way around your home, strive for natural effects. Some people look to the heavens and watch the clouds for guidance in forming the shape of patterns to plant the bulbs.

Others just strew their bulbs on the ground and plant them where they fall. It is best to keep varieties separate in individual drifts. It renders a more pleasing effect than if they are mixed.

Avoid planting daffodils in wet, soggy areas, or on high dry knolls. If the ground is suitable for daffodils they will bloom year in and year out and last for many years.

One good daffodil bulb, if planted in favorable circumstances and left undisturbed will eventually provide as many as two dozen blooms. Daffodils should not be planted in dense shade, but light shade is all right. In fact, when planted among trees or shrubbery where some sun can penetrate, daffodils will do well.

When To Plant Naturalized Daffodils?

Daffodils are planted in the fall for spring bloom during late April and early May, depending on the season. Cool, rainy weather will delay the blooming season while hot, dry weather will cut the period short.

The flowers from naturalized daffodils can be cut for home decoration but the foliage should not be disturbed, because the bulb needs the nutrition from the ripening foliage for healthy development and propagation.

Do not plan to mow an area where daffodils are planted until their foliage has died down naturally.

Do not lift naturalized daffodils. When daffodils are planted in loose soil in a garden they multiply very rapidly and have to be lifted and divided. In the sod the multiplication process is slowed down. For best results, do not tamper with the bulbs once they have been planted under sod.

If you want to top dress your naturalized bulbs with bone meal, that may do some good, but it is almost never necessary to apply any other fertilizer. These daffodils will not need extra water. They will find plenty of moisture since their roots go so deeply into the soil.

Their have been daffodil lovers who have spent years of their life naturalizing daffodils as a hobby. Reports of planting 300,000 bulbs and over 500 varieties on a four acre tract of land. Places like these display daffodils growing in great waves in front of hedges and evergreens, along brooks, beside a pond or everywhere.

When people see plantings like this they are inspired and go home to do a little naturalizing too. Even a few dozen daffodils beneath a tree in front of the house, or a drift in the corner of a lawn will make a striking effect.