General Discussion:

Weak stems on Daffodils

Messages posted to thread:

Trish14-Mar-03 11:38 AM EST 8   
JoanneS14-Mar-03 04:04 PM EST 3a   
Ann19-Mar-03 07:40 PM EST 5   
Ann19-Mar-03 07:43 PM EST   
Susan19-Mar-03 08:25 PM EST 6a   
Joy21-Mar-03 08:27 AM EST   
Trish23-Mar-03 11:27 AM EST 8b   
JoanneS24-Mar-03 01:39 PM EST 3a   
Joy24-Mar-03 06:27 PM EST   
JoanneS28-Mar-03 04:04 PM EST 3a   

Subject: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Trish
Zone: 8
Date: 14-Mar-03 11:38 AM EST

My daffodils (3 years in the ground) have very weak stems and fall over. I have to support them with stakes. What can I do to strengthen the stems for next year.

Also, I have noticed that some of the tulips, which bloomed very well last spring, appear to just have leaves - no flower stems.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: JoanneS (
Zone: 3a
Date: 14-Mar-03 04:04 PM EST

Other than staking the daffodils, I'm not sure what to do.

But for the tulips ...

I have noticed over the years that some tulips do not naturalize well, if at all. Some of my favourites I treat as annuals. The first year they look fabulous, year two lots of foliage, almost no flowers, third year some foliage, and fourth year, nothing.

Unless the package states that it naturalizes well, don't depend on them.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Ann
Zone: 5
Date: 19-Mar-03 07:40 PM EST

Sometimes if the Daffodils shot up too fast (if the weather is quite warm) the stems can be leggy and thin, could this be it? Tulips:- Did you leave them to die back long enough last Spring ? They need about six weeks to mature.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Ann
Date: 19-Mar-03 07:43 PM EST

Sorry if that last bit about the tulips is a bit garbled - my edit didn't seem to work. You get the idea though I am sure !!!

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 19-Mar-03 08:25 PM EST

I read something interesting last year about bulbs - apparently those that don't naturalize have flower buds that are killed if the soil temperature rises above 20 degrees or so. So the ones that didn't rebloom are likely types that don't naturalize so there's probably nothing you were doing wrong! I always look for tulips that naturalize -almost all the mini-botanicals do and the Fosteriana, Greigii and Kaufmanniana are pretty reliable rebloomers for me. I particularly like the White Emperor Fosteriana ones which grow in light shade under my pines.

As for the weak daffodils - maybe you didn't plant them deep enough - they need to be about 6" down and they seem to prefer heavy soil to light sandy soil. The ones I have in a raised bed which has a very light peaty/sandy soil are much more inclined to flop than the ones I have in soil with a high clay content.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Joy
Date: 21-Mar-03 08:27 AM EST

The problem may be insufficient nutrients in the soil. Clay is much richer in nutrients than light soils. Recommend giving your daffs a boost with blood /bone meal.

You should also dead-head your daffodils as soon as they have finished flowering. This will ensure that the daffodils do not put all their energy into producing seed. Just remove the flower heads, not the stems, as the leaves and stems help built strong bulbs for next year.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Trish
Zone: 8b
Date: 23-Mar-03 11:27 AM EST

Thanks for the info. I did give the daffs some bonemeal, but was probably a bit late - with the very warm winter we had everything came up much earlier than expected.

I will certainly look into some naturalizing tulips - though find I have a hard time keeping the squirrels away when the first shoots come up! Maybe I'll stick to some "squirrel proof" bulbs.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: JoanneS (
Zone: 3a
Date: 24-Mar-03 01:39 PM EST

Trish, I'm not sure if you can find the thread, but there was quite a discussion over a year ago on "squirrel proofing" the garden. Some fun suggestions. In my area we don't have much of a squirrel issue and I'm wondering, how the squirrels know where the bulbs are? Do they smell them? Do they see you digging and remember where?

Because they are not a major problem here, I find them a lot of fun. I've occassionally caught one in a bird feeder, but my feeders are on pulleys so I just lower or raise the pulley so he can't reach the feeder. The children spent a wonderful afternoon once, laughing at a squirrel trying to figure out how to get at a suet feeder. Eventually, he leaped from the tree and managed to grab the suet cage. Then he kind of swung the cage to get back to the tree. Very funny.

Joy, I'd forgotten about deadheading daffs, but you are sooooooo correct. If they go to seed, they are done. I just snip off the spent bloom stalk. Looks tidy and prevents the daff from going to seed.

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: Joy
Date: 24-Mar-03 06:27 PM EST

Hi Joanne, I was laughing at your squirrels ! I have a lot of them here in Oakville, but I'm a big feeder of the birds and don't mind if they share with a rodent or ten, I find that if there are sunflower seeds to be had, the squirrels leave my garden alone !

Subject: RE: Weak stems on Daffodils
From: JoanneS (
Zone: 3a
Date: 28-Mar-03 04:04 PM EST

Joy, I just purchased a neat little device called a squirrel feeder. It is a hinged box with a clear front. Squirrel sees the peanuts, but has to learn to lift the lid to get them out. We thought we'd make the little guy work for his food. I'm a big fan of birding and am looking forward to the migrating birds returning to my feeders. Had them all cleaned and filled with fresh food two weeks ago. Saw my first Canada Geese today, two small flocks. We are going on a snow goose chase in a couple of weeks as they should start to come through soon as well.

I do so love spring!

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