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Ericaceous compost was developed specifically to grow plants in the Ericacae family that prefer acidic soil as their growing environment. The use of ericaceous compost is not limited to this plant family and has benefits for a wider range of plants, but does this include daffodils that grow from bulbs?
Daffodils can tolerate slightly acidic soil in the pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. They can grow in ericaceous compost if the compost has not amended the growing medium to a pH below the optimal range for the daffodils. Ericaceous compost is not a requirement for growing daffodils successfully.
Ericaceous compost has many uses in the garden, but it is not beneficial to all plants. Daffodils are part of a plant family that typically does not tolerate acidic soil very well, but they are not your typical bulb-growing plants!
Is Ericaceous Compost Good For Daffodils?
Daffodils are plants in the Narcissus genus that grow from underground bulbs. As a general rule of thumb, most plants with bulbs do not like an acidic growing environment.
If the soil is too acidic, the small roots that grow from the bulb do not develop properly, and the plant’s overall health is compromised.
Daffodils are an anomaly in this plant family because they can tolerate a wider pH range than most other bulb plants and thrive in slightly acidic soil.
While many factors affect overall plant health, it is crucial to get the pH balance right because this affects the plant’s ability to take up nutrients from the soil.
You could be doing everything else right, providing the right amount of water, sunlight, and nutrients, but if the pH is wrong, the plant will not be able to fully use any of them.
What Soil pH Works Best For Daffodils?
Most bulb flowers in the Narcissus family prefer a neutral soil pH as close to 7.0 as possible. Daffodils are more tolerant in their pH range and grow well in slightly acidic soil from pH 6.0 to 7.0.
The tolerance of daffodils for acidic soil makes them more versatile than most other garden flowers that develop from underground bulbs.
If you have a bed in your garden with ericaceous plants, you can plant daffodils in the same garden bed, and they will thrive alongside these acid-loving plants.
Can Ericaceous Compost Be Used With Daffodils?
Ericaceous compost is intended to amend soil to the correct pH for growing certain plants. Due to daffodils being tolerant of lower pH values than many other Narcissus plants, ericaceous compost can be used with daffodils, but it is unnecessary.
Daffodils will grow well in standard compost that is only slightly below the neutral pH of 7.0, which does not require the addition of ericaceous compost.
The only time that ericaceous compost will be a requirement for daffodils is if you are planting them with other plants that require a specific acidity level or if the natural soil is too alkaline.
Ericaceous compost has the potential to reduce the soil pH to values as low as pH 5.0, which will be too acidic for daffodils to survive.
Constant monitoring of the soil pH is necessary as you add ericaceous compost to the growing medium to ensure the levels stay within the safe range for the daffodils.
Essentially, ericaceous compost is not necessary to succeed in growing daffodils in your garden soil or in containers.
Growing Conditions Best For Daffodils
The soil pH is a significant part of the plant’s health, but it is not the only factor to consider to get your daffodils to thrive.
Besides the pH, there are several other factors to get right to provide your daffodils with the right conditions and the best chance of success.
Well-Drained Soil For Daffodils
One of the most important aspects of getting right when growing daffodils is providing them with well-drained soil. All plants growing from bulbs under the soil do not grow well in high-moisture conditions. If the soil is too damp, the bulbs will suffer from bulb rot, and the plant will die.
The soil must be kept moist to prevent the bulb from drying out, but it must not be wet enough to cause it to rot. The only way to achieve this balance is to plant the daffodil bulb in well-drained soil that contains a lot of organic matter and to water the plants only when the upper 1-inch of the growing medium feels dry.
Light Requirements For Daffodils
Daffodils prefer lots of light, which means you should find a sunny spot in your garden that gets as much direct sunlight throughout the day as possible.
Daffodils can tolerate light shade, so if the best spot in your garden has dappled shade for part of the day, this will be a suitable location to plant them.
Do Daffodils Require Fertilizers?
The bulb in a Daffodil plant is an energy storage container where the plant stores nutrient supplies for the following season.
Daffodils do not require specific fertilizers but benefit from a mulch with organic compost when the new leaves begin to appear above the ground.
When To Plant Daffodil Bulbs
The best season to plant daffodil bulbs is in the fall. The bulbs need to overwinter in the ground and will produce new growth that appears above ground in the spring.
The flowers will appear on the daffodils in the late spring or early summer. Allow the plant to continue to grow after the flowering season has finished allowing it to re-stock the bulb with nutrients for the next growing season.
In the fall season, snip the leaves off the plant at ground level, and leave the bulbs to overwinter in the ground.
Daffodils are easy-to-grow plants that are not particularly fussy with the pH value of the soil. They grow well in slightly acidic soils but have a wide tolerance range compared to other bulb plants in their family.
Their pH tolerance allows them to grow in soil amended with ericaceous compost, but this compost is not a requirement to grow daffodils successfully.