Early Flowering Daffodils – A Headache for Growers!

The daffodils pictured in full flower and even past their best are from my local park – usually they wouldn’t look like this until late March or early April.

The unusually mild February weather could result in a national shortage of daffodils by Easter apparently unseasonably warm temperatures have resulted in huge demand for the humble daffodil with orders tripling in the last week and wholesale prices doubling compared to this time last year.

Brits have been warned to expect a shortage of daffodils this Easter as the mild February weather triggers the flowers to sprout early and causes a surge in demand.

Daffodils are usually planted in autumn and spend several months developing roots before the flowers burst open between March and May.

The mild conditions this year have caused the daffodils to flower much earlier than usual with commercial growers having to start selling them before they go bad. It appears that the bulbs ‘think’ it’s spring already and have been shooting up their flowering stems since mid-February. Whilst this is beautiful to see, it could mean that all the daffodils in the land will be finished by Easter this year – when most people like to buy them to decorate their homes.

Brexit could also scupper supply as millions of the golden blooms are produced in and shipped to the UK from the Netherlands.

The potential of increased tariffs, delays at ports and a sharp fall in the pound could all make it more difficult for EU nurseries to trade with British sellers.

Some commercial growers of daffodils have resorted to taking special measures to ensure a continuity of supply by ‘tricking’ the bulbs into thinking it is still winter using giant cold stores.

These stores are usually used to keep the shops stocked with seasonal agricultural crops like potatoes, but with demand so great wholesale prices of daffodils have already doubled compared to last year.

Top Tips for Great Daffodils Next Year

After your daffodils have flowered continue to ensure they don’t dry out for at least six weeks. Once the blooms fade remove them as soon as possible to avoid the bulbs wasting energy by setting seed in the faded flowers. If the daffodils are grown in containers or on poor sandy soil, apply a high potassium fertiliser like those commonly sold as “Tomato Fertiliser” . Do not tie up the daffodil leaves – allow them to die down naturally and once they start to yellow you can stop watering.

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