do daffodils need dead heading?

jchaber(4 CO)May 31, 2007

Thanks in advance, again!!

I have a bunch of daffodils that someone else must have planted. I do know that I don't remove their leaves nor do I remove the bulbs until the foliage yellows. What I don't know is do I remove the dead flowers? If so, do I remove the stalk with the flower or just the flower?

If anyone knows, I'd love to hear back.

Thank you!


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david52 Zone 6

Theoretically, you're supposed to remove the flower after it blooms and before it forms a seed head. But nobody that I know ever does, and the plants divide and flourish just fine.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 6:29PM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

I try to get around to deadheading (eventually) because it does make the garden look a little neater. If you do, you can cut the entire stalk. I also cut the leaves down to 2-3 inches after about 6-7 weeks even if they aren't quite brown yet. Read something recently that said there was a new study that showed you only needed to leave the leaves for three weeks after bloom. Boy, that would be nice. As far as the bulbs are concerned, unless you need to move or divide them, they can just stay where they are til they come up again next year.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:53PM
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jchaber(4 CO)

Thank you both! I think I will dead head and then just leave them where they are as they look great already.

:) J.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 10:26PM
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I don't want to overstate this at the risk of actually sounding like I might know what I'm talking about. But . . .

leaves may be quite green and neither withered, yellow nor brown but have little capacity for photosynthesis. Older leaves progressively lose value to the plant until they are "cut off" and begin to die. At least, those who know how to measure photosynthesis have made these claims.

That suggests to me that we probably don't really need to put up with too much crappy looking foliage in our gardens. The interests of the plant aren't being served one way or the other.


    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:11PM
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lnmca(zone 5)

Aaah. That is just what I needed to hear digit! Tomorrow I am taking the shears to those bad boys.

Kind of OT, but this is our first full season of plantings and it seems like the bulbs I planted in the fall have come up late compared to others in the neighborhood (ie. daffs about 3 weeks later and I have iris leaves but no signs of flowers yet (don't remember what type of irises, though)) ...what causes this? Burying the bulbs too deep? First year in the ground? Too much clay in the soil? I don't mind them being late so much, I just want to remedy the situation if it is a problem.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:13PM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)


There could be a couple of reasons your daffs were later than others in the neighborhood. The most likely is that your daffs may be "scheduled" for a later time. Different varieties bloom at different times, so there are early, mid and late types. If you know what kind you have, you could probably look it up. Planting them deep might also have some effect. And frankly, this year, all bets are off. The weather was so wacky that my early daffs and late daffs came up at the same time!

As for irises, if this is their first year you may not have blooms at all. Many times it takes two seasons before they begin to bloom. On the other hand, there are also early, mid and late irises.

Hope that all makes it clear as mud.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:38PM
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I have heard that bulbs will be late blooming if it's their first year. I planted all of my bulbs last year, and that seems to be the case with mine. All of the tulips in the neighborhood stopped blooming weeks back, but I still have a couple holdouts.

Some of the tulips and daffodils didn't bloom at all. Most were late. Some were on very short stalks. All of my irises sent up leaves, some copiously, but so far only about half of them sent up flower stalks. I figure next year it'll be better.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 2:06AM
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lnmca(zone 5)

Thanks for the answers! OK, to make things more difficult, I am thinking about digging them all up because I have changed my mind about where I want them. Will this set them back even more next year?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado


When they (bulbs) bloom should depend primarily on the variety and the weather. If youÂre going to dig them up, IÂd leave the foliage on for at least a month after theyÂve finished blooming, then dig them up and store them in a cool, dark, dry place until the proper planting time for spring blooming bulbsÂwhich is after the weather and soil has cooled enough that they wonÂt start growing right away. TheyÂll be rooting all winter and be all set to come up again in spring. If you replant them right away, they may start to come up this year, and it could really mess them up. If theyÂve developed next yearÂs "flowers" before you dig them up, you shouldnÂt really affect next springÂs bloom. The worst thing youÂll do by moving them is delay their developing a big "clump." When you dig them up, watch for the new, small bulbs developing around the original bulbs, and replant them too. They may not bloom next year, but should the following spring. With my bulbs, by the way (I donÂt have very many yet), I deadhead the flowers to keep them looking neat and then keep cutting the foliage back little by little as it browns, which keeps them looking surprisingly good, and gives them whatever benefit leaving the foliage on doesÂif it does!

Iris arenÂt bulbs. TheyÂre tubers I think! Cnetter can correct me if IÂm wrong! The main thing about iris is to plant them shallowly. If too deep they wonÂt bloom. Mine (new last year) was too deep and IÂve corrected it and hope to finally get a few flowers next year. When we were at the swap, Cnetter, Charlene, and I were looking at her "old" gardens that were put in by a previous owner and are now overgrownÂand waiting to be revivedÂand when I asked about my iris, Cnetter pointed out that the tubers of many of the bearded iris were actually visible on the surfaceÂand they were blooming beautifullyÂespecially considering they had been deserted for many years.

Happy bulb digging,

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 11:55PM
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lnmca(zone 5)

Thanks, Skybird, for your helpful answer! I think I might have it figured out now.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 12:20AM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

Yup, iris are tubers and planting too deep will definitely cause them to not bloom. Also, they don't like too much water and will rot if they get too much. While some people claim the tubers will get sun scald if they are planted with the tops showing, I've never ever had a problem. I plant them with the top of the tuber just barely showing.

Often, iris won't bloom the first year after being planted or moved. I've successfully moved iris and had them bloom great the next year by digging them up with a large shovel and getting most/all of the roots so they don't really know they've been moved. And fresh, newly dug tubers that have been purchased oftem bloom if they are planted immediately.

I've got a great show of about 50 iris right now!
This one was moved last year:

And this one was newly planted last fall, it has a very rich look:

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 10:02AM
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lnmca(zone 5)

Wow, cnetter, gorgeous Irises! Beautiful!

I guess I will have to wait for that kind of display until the next year (or two?). It is good to know the basics. I would wander on over to the iris forum but I don't have the time to devote to that! Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 1:06PM
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