Daffodils suitable for heavy soil

Hi all, I'm new to Gardeners' World and this is my first question. 

 Can anyone recommend a daffodil bulb that is suitable for heavy clay soil?  I have been told that if I put one in that is most like a wild daffodil that I have the best chance.  Is this true?



  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619


    Well the above link seems to suggest that it would be, but as my soil is so free draining it's like dust, I'd wait for other posters who garden in a similar substrate to comment on their experience.

  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    Hello Sarah and welcome.

    I garden on heavy clay and I have not really had a problem with daffodil bulbs, although most bulbs do not like it. Can I suggest that you buy a large bag of grit £2.50 and put some in the planting hole before you plant the daffs. That way you can pick any varieties that you would prefer.

    I buy at least one bag of grit each year for my small garden and it is money well spent.

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,344

    Hello Sarah , I have heavy soil, overall my spring bulbs do reasonably well.

    A year ago I bought a lot of different daff bulbs- spent a little bit of  money on some of themimageThe ones that did the best for me this Spring  were the cheap ones bought from Wilkos etc. This may have been down to the weather both at the time and the year previous.  I had a lot that came up blind or too early so the flowers were damaged.

    All the bulbs are still in the ground so I'm hopeful to have a better show for the Spring.

    Interesting advice kate- I begrudge spending too much money on the garden but £2.50 sounds like my sort of price. Just out of interest how much grit do you put in to the planting hole- some bits of my garden could always do with some more drainage.

    Just my experience.......  I'm going to take some care about where to plant any new daff bulbs ( and there will be some) as when the flowers are over, you have to leave the leaves on them til they die down to feed the bulbs for flowering next year.

    I love daffs, one of my favourite- but they can take a while to die down after flowering and look messy & scraggly whilst they are doing so.

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    My garden was very heavy clay. I added a mixture of compost/farmyard manure and sharp sand to the beds and this helped tremendously with drainage. As long as water doesnt sit on the soil after its rained I wouldnt worry about rotting etc.

    Narcissus are extremely reliable

    Here in Wales the ones planted on the roundabouts and parks and at the side of roads come up every year without fail and most of this area is clay.

  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    Hollie-Hock I put in just enough so that they are not sat on the soil, but obviously it is adding up over time, I add grit to lots of things and it is very useful for cuttings too.

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,344

    I'm in a similiar  area Matt- and daffs are known here as tough ones that come up year after year, in fact all spring bulbs do! I do think the weather the year previous had a lot do with how daffs performed this year. I say this because an untended hedgerow close to me had about 50% less flowers this year  than they did the year before, a lot of them were blind.

    Thanks kate, sounds like a small bag of grit will go a long way, especailly as you say it will add up over time. Where's the best place to get it from, at that price?

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Ah you live just up the road from me then. I'm in Torfaen so I guess you have the same timings as me for flowering image

  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    Hollie-hock I use a trade landscape suppliers, you have to dodge the white vans and lorries, but they load it into the car for me. I go there to get good quality compost. They only take cash and the men smoke whilst they serve you. I have just looked at B&Q and choked at their prices.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,669
    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • I have a heavy clay soil and daffs do OK.

    Planting into cultivated (dug) soil shouldn't be difficult. However, I prefer to have my daffs growing in grass. Boring a hole through grass into a heavy clay soil is very difficult. I've broken at least two steel daffs planters, trying to bore holes. I've broken both the small hand-held planers, and the more 'robust' ones which have a handle and a bar to stand on. Clay soil beneath grass can be like concrete.

    So it can be a challenge to get a suitable depth. I like to put some compost beneath the bulb too.

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