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Home & garden.

Updated: 3 May 2022

How to grow daffodils and the best varieties

Spring wouldn't be spring without daffodils. Discover our best daffodil varieties plus tips on how to grow them.
Ceri Thomas
Daffodils

Daffodils (narcissus) are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs, a joyful herald of the season to come. They can add a vibrant splash of colour in a flowerbed, but can also look brilliant in pots and window boxes.

Which? Gardening magazine grew a range of popular varieties to see which would give us the best display.


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Key facts

Plant type Spring-flowering bulbs

Position Sun or partial shade

Soil Well-drained

How to grow daffodils: month by month

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune


FloweringFlowering

JulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember


PlantPlant

Best daffodil varieties

Which members can log in now to see the full results and which are our Best Buy varieties. If you're not a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Full testing results for daffodils

Dwarf daffodils for pots

Variety name Overall rating
Flower duration Flower impact Display impact Suitability for pots Scent Pest & disease resistance 

USING THE TABLE OVERALL RATING Ignores price and is based on: flower impact 25%, display impact 25%, flower duration 20%, suitability for containers 20%, scent 10%.

How we test daffodils

We bought around 25 bulbs of 19 different varieties of daffodils and planted them in containers at the Which? Gardening magazine trial garden at Capel Manor in north London. We started assessing the plants from when the first blooms opened in February through to the last flowers in June.

Caring for your plants

Planting in pots

Plant bulbs in the autumn in a Best Buy compost for containers. It might be worth adding some grit if you live in an area that has a lot of rain. Plant the bulbs about 10cm deep and space them around one bulb's width.

Deadheading

Remove the faded blooms and let the foliage die back naturally to help the bulb store energy and produce a good show of flowers the following year.

Common growing problems

Narcissus bulb fly

Female narcissus bulb flies will lay eggs on damaged bulbs, killing the bulbs or causing them to come up blind. Make sure you always buy good-quality bulbs and press the soil down around them when freshly planted to prevent access to the bulb. If you suspect you have an infestation, remove the infected bulbs and dispose of them in your green waste.

Read more about narcissus bulb fly

Lack of flowers

If you’re buying fresh bulbs, they should flower the following spring. If you have bulbs that have been in a pot or in the ground for some time, they might come up ‘blind’, with foliage but no flowers. Avoid this by deadheading the faded blooms and leaving the foliage to die back naturally without tying it into a knot. Keep your plants watered and fed if they’ve been in the pot for some time as they will lack nutrients.

If the bulbs have been planted for some years, they might be getting crowded. Lift them and replant the larger, healthy bulbs as the small bulbs might take a few years to grow to a size that will produce flowers.