Ask Martha

Planting daffodils is worth the labor

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Armed with the right tools and a very simple planting technique, anyone can grow masses of colorful, spring-blooming daffodils. Fall is the time to get started — and whether your goal is to install dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of bulbs, you’ll be able to get the whole project done in one autumn afternoon.

With their nodding heads of wonderful, varied shades of yellow, white, apricot, and gold, spring-blooming daffodils are appealing to so many of us, and valuable flowers for the garden and landscape.

Planted in small clusters or large drifts, these deer-resistant, long-lasting, easily naturalized bulbs can add bright and cheery color to any garden that is coming to life after a winter’s hibernation.


We scraped away 8 inches of soil, mass-planted the bulbs, and covered them with the reserved earth. This saved a bit of time, but the planting was still very labor-intensive.

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Preparing the bed required amending the poor, slightly sandy soil with bone meal, superphosphate and rich compost, as well as fork-digging to a depth of 5 inches. After raking the area smooth, I applied lines of demarcation using granular lime, following a planting map; each section of the map would accommodate 50 to 100 bulbs.

After all the bulbs were carefully spaced, a few loads of well-mixed compost were used to cover the area, leveling it with the surrounding gardens.

In the spring, the resulting daffodil display proved that the method is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a fast solution to bulb planting.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living.