Dividing Daffodils: Can You Transplant Daffodil Bulbs

Hands Holding A Large Rooted Daffodil Bulbs
move daffodils
(Image credit: Viorika)

When daffodils nod their cheery heads, you know spring has really arrived. Their golden blooms become denser and denser over time as the bulbs naturalize. Over the years it becomes necessary to divide and transplant the bulbs. 

Can you transplant daffodil bulbs any time of the year? Some people move them in early summer and some people wait until late in the season. Let's learn when and how to divide and transplant daffodils.

When Do You Divide Daffodil Bulbs?

As the years pass, your daffodil clusters will multiply in number. This is because as one bulb becomes bloomed out, more are produced to continue the plant. These can be divided away from the mother bulb and planted separately to prevent the area from getting too crowded. 

Daffodil bulbs that have not bloomed out do not tolerate transplanting very well, but you can usually get them to recover in a year, and gradually the blooms will improve over time. Dividing daffodils is not necessary, but you can do it if you wish to spread them out. 

As a rule, every three to five years is sufficient to keep the patch healthy. Once you dig up the bulbs and spread them out, they often cover twice as much area as the original number with two or three times as many bulbs as were originally planted.

 When do you divide daffodil bulbs? The best time is when the foliage has begun to die back. This feeds the bulb and will ensure healthy bulbs with plenty of stored sugar for the next season's growth.

How to Divide and Transplant Daffodil Bulbs

A large shovel is the best tool for dividing daffodils. Dig around them and then scoop under the clump gently. The idea is to not cut into the bulbs, which can invite rot and mildew. 

Once you have lifted the clump, brush and shake off the excess dirt. Pull apart the bulbs that separate easily. Any little bulbs still clinging to the parent bulb should be allowed to mature and separate naturally, so don't force them apart. Discard any that are diseased or damaged. 

Plant them as soon as possible for the best results. If the leaves are still healthy, leave them to continue gathering solar energy. If leaves are dead, cut them back before transplanting daffodil bulbs.

Storing Divided Bulbs

Some gardeners prefer to dig up and store the bulbs over winter or simply to save them from squirrels and other pests. Once you have dug them up, brush off the dirt and put them in a mesh bag or on a screen to cure. 

After a week, you can transfer the bulbs to a paper bag or leave them until fall in the mesh. Store the bulbs in a dim, well-ventilated cool area. 

Transplanting and dividing daffodil bulbs is an easy way to provide a sea of yellow in your landscape.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.