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Garden Q&A: On making daffodils thrive again and what weeds to compost

A split cup, or double, daffodil is one of thousands of varieties of daffodils. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun
A split cup, or double, daffodil is one of thousands of varieties of daffodils. - Original Credit: For The Baltimore Sun (Ellen Nibali / HANDOUT)

Can you identify this daffodil for me? One whiff and I am transported to holiday dinners of my childhood where these daffodils were the centerpiece. My sister got bulbs from my mother before she passed away, but over the years the clump of leaves increased and flowers practically disappeared. This year we shared two! I’d like to buy more.

Daffodils aren’t usually planted for fragrance, but they can be heavenly. This looks like a split cup, double daffodil, probably an old variety. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of daffodil varieties, so we can’t pin it down, but you don’t have to.

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Since the leaves are so vigorous, that means the lack of flowers isn’t caused by too much shade or poor soil. It has a big mass of bulbs underground vying with each other for space. They simply need to be divided.

Mark the clump carefully now with a rock or flag, since the foliage will disappear over the summer. Dig in the fall, split the hoard with your sister and replant. Spread out the bulbs so they don’t need to be divided too soon. Even if the leaves were spindly, you could still dig, divide bulbs, move and replant them. Bonus: deer don’t eat daffodils.

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Can I put wild garlic bulbs and chickweed in my yard trim or should I put it in my trash?

Bag the garlic bulbs and put in the trash. Do not compost them, because they would survive and get spread when you used the compost. Chickweed or other immature weeds that have not gone to seed can go in the compost. If your yard trim is a brush pile, almost any yard debris can go on the top, because it will take years for the pile to decompose enough for debris to reach soil level where it could grow. By that time it will not be viable. The exception is invasive plants with seeds. Bag those and put in the trash. Their seeds can stay viable for years.

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