How to plant daffodil bulbs - ensure a pretty display when spring arrives

Enjoy a beautiful display of daffodils in your garden next spring with this expert advice on how to plant daffodil bulbs

Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête': a close-up shot of the yellow flowers of this smaller daffodil variety
(Image credit: Alamy)

Available in hues of bright yellow, orange and white, daffodils are renowned for heralding the arrival of spring, so learn how to plant daffodil bulbs and you can enjoy their year-on-year colour.

Autumn is when to plant daffodil bulbs, and these easy-to-grow, hardy perennials are great for beginner gardeners to have a go at and will bring cheery colour to your spring garden as a garden idea.

'Daffodils are a glorious sight in spring, and for new gardeners, they are easy to grow and affordable,' explains Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturalist at the Royal Horticultural Society.

How to plant daffodil bulbs

Pale daffodils and crocuses growing from bulbs in grass

(Image credit: Future PLC/Leigh Clapp Photography)

It couldn't be easier to get to grips with how to plant daffodil bulbs, but first make sure you have the necessary equipment to hand – don't worry, you don't need much!

What you will need


A close up shot of spring flower bulbs, including varieties such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and others.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are many different varieties of daffodil – some that bloom early in February, others as late as May. They also come in a multitude of different colours and heights, so if you choose carefully, you could enjoy a changeable display of daffodil flowers from February through to May. 

1.Choose the spot for planting

Paperwhite daffodils

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Daffodils are fairly easy to please and can grow in full sun or partial shade, and in light, sandy or heavy clay soil. 

'Daffodils don’t like acidic soil, though, so make sure you plant daffodil bulbs where the pH is lower or add lime where needed,' explains Julian Palphramand, head of plants at British Garden Centres.

You're ideally looking for a spot in your garden that's usually warm and sunny in the spring months.

Make sure it has good drainage, too, as you don't want to overwater your daffs; drenching them and letting them sit wet will leave them vulnerable to disease.

Julian Palphramand headshot
Julian Palphramand

Julian is head of plants at British Garden Centres and a font of knowledge on all things related to growing vegetables

2. Loosen the soil

'Prior to planting, make sure you have effectively loosened the soil to alleviate any compactness and incorporate organic matter to enhance both soil structure and drainage,' explains Julian.

3. Dig a hole

peg rail with garden tools hanging from it, stone wall behind

(Image credit: Lights4Fun/Oliver Perrott)

Dig a hole about 15cm (6in) deep. Or, if you prefer, you can 'dig a hole about three times the height of the bulb,' advises Christopher Christopher O'Donoghue of Gardens Revived.  

Christopher O'Donoghue, one of the directors of Gardens Revived
Christopher O'Donoghue

A gardener with over a decade of experience under his belt, Christopher set up Gardens Revived with his brother, Andrew, in 2018  to create a thriving family business. Together, they have worked on residential gardens, listed buildings and gardens, flower shows and large estates with some exceeding 70 acres – many with historical significance.

4. Position the bulbs

planting a daffodil bulb in the ground with a hand trowel

(Image credit: Alamy)

'Position your daffodil bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards. Bury them at a depth three times the size of the bulb, which is approximately 10cm below the soil surface,' says Julian. 

Maintain a spacing of approximately 7-15cm between the bulbs, depending on the variety, equivalent to about two bulbs' width.

5. Don't forget to water

Water your daffodil bulbs well to help remove air pockets in the soil and then... that's it. Leave them to their own devices!

'If you want, you can consider adding a layer of mulch over the top to help protect your daffodils from the cold, especially if your garden is usually frosty and dry over the winter months,' says Christopher.

Overall, these should be relatively easy flowers to grow, even for complete novices. And trust us: they may take a little time, but those bright yellow white and orange blooms will be well worth the wait once spring rolls around.

Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête': a close-up shot of the yellow flowers of this smaller daffodil variety

(Image credit: Crocus)

6. Caring for daffodils after flowering

'Once flowering has finished, remove the spent blooms to allow the daffodil bulbs to conserve their energy for the following spring. Use a liquid feed with high potassium content every two weeks from the fading of flowers until the first indications of foliage turning yellow,' advises Julian.

'Trim back the foliage approximately six weeks after the flowers have finished blooming and the leaves have turned yellow. Compact the soil around the plants to create a barrier against bulb flies laying eggs.'


What way up do you plant daffodil bulbs?

Always plant daffodil bulbs with the pointed end facing upwards – it should be fairly obvious which is the pointy end but, if in doubt, lay them slightly on their side.

How deep should you plant daffodil bulbs?

Depending on the variety, daffodil bulbs should be planted around 10cm below the soil, or at a depth three times the height of the bulb

Come spring you should be greeted by glorious and vibrant display.

Rachel Crow
Senior Content Editor

Rachel Crow is a senior content editor, contributing gardening content for, and is currently the acting editor of Ideal Home’s sister title, Period Living magazine. She was deputy editor of Period Living for 10 years and has written for lifestyle magazines for many years, with a particular focus on historic houses, arts and crafts, and gardening. Rachel started out her journalism career on BBC radio, before moving into lifestyle magazines. Always harbouring a passion for homes and gardens, she jumped at the opportunity to work on The English Home and The English Garden magazines for a number of years, before joining the Period Living team, and more recently the wider Ideal Home team.

With contributions from