Now is the time to start thinking about next years daffodils

Most daffodils have faded now — after dutifully announcing spring — and have made way for summer flowers.

But don’t forget about them just yet.

Now is the time to prepare daffodils to guarantee a strong showing next year. by: COURTESY PHOTO: JERRRY MAASDAM - Arden Sheets digs daffodils every summer to plant throughout Hillsboro.

If your patches of yellow delights were more green foliage than bright blooms this year, consider dividing the bulbs this summer. When daffodil bulbs get too crowded, they don’t perform as well.

They'll need to be divided every six or seven years, said Arden Sheets, who has been organizing the planting of thousands of daffodil bulbs each year along Highway 26 and in Hillsboro parks.

Now is the time to mark clumps of daffodils that didn’t perform so well, because come summer, when it’s time to divide bulbs, telltale foliage is gone.

“It’s hard to go out with a fork and shovel in a few months and remember what wasn’t blooming well back in March and April,” Sheets noted.

Snip off any remaining blooms, but leave the green stems and seed pods, which will send nutrients down to the bulbs to store. Mark bulbs with anything you’ll still be able to find in July and August, but be careful not to stab them.

Sheets recommends digging up bulbs in late July, when they’re dry and done soaking up nutrients from spent stems and leaves. Sort out any stabbed, small and buggy bulbs, and throw them away. Small bulbs, about the size of a thumb, are worth saving, but may not bloom next spring. Finally, Sheets suggests laying bulbs out to dry in a well-ventilated, dry space.

When October rolls around, find a space in the yard that will need some brightening next year. Plant bulbs five to six inches apart and four inches deep — or donate them to the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Office, 4400 N.W. 229th Ave., to be planted around Hillsboro by volunteers.

Contact Sheets with any questions about daffodils (or for digging help) at 503-640-2116.

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