We all love daffodils when they are blooming with their bright faces announcing its spring! But what about once the leaves start to flop all over taking up space, flowers faded and gone. We are ready to pop in a few new annuals here and there, but the leaves! Removing the leaves before they die back naturally will cause the bulbs to weaken and possible not bloom the following spring. Flower heads can be removed (“dead-heading”), if desired, but leave flower stems intact to photosynthesize food for the bulb. Once the leaves tips have started to brown and the entire leaf if yellow, which is usually around six weeks after bloom, the leaves can be removed without sacrificing next years blooms.
A simple solutions is tying the leaves up or braiding, my favorite. Braiding gives a maintained look, while making space for new annuals to start their new home for summer color. Simply grab a group of leaves and start to braid! I like to tuck the braid end down at the base of the leaves to keep them even more tidy. Once the leaves have become lifeless, I can easily toss the braid into the compost pile. This is also a good time if I need to move bulbs or separate due to overcrowding. The braids will mark where my bulbs are. Overcrowding will happen about every 5-7 years. Dig deeply with a straight-edged spade. Lift the entire clump out and carefully separate the bulbs. Do not pull bulbs apart with any force! Either replant immediately (add bone meal in each new planting hole) or store bulbs until September in a cool, well-ventilated dark area. Bulbs must dry before you can rub off roots and dead outer layers, approximately six weeks. Check bulbs for softness or rot during drying. Share extra bulbs with your neighbors! In September sidedress bulbs with bone meal for bigger blooms in Spring!