Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

daffodils in garden in spring
No, your daffodils shouldn’t be blooming outside in December, but if a few leaves are poking out of the ground, don’t worry. (This photo was taken in late April 2016.) Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I got this question from a reader:

I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them.


I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said:

“This can happen in mild winters. The good news is daffodils are extremely hardy and should be able to make it through the winter even if they are partially emerged. Some gardeners will place a few evergreen boughs over the exposed growth until snow cover eventually provides insulation.”

That’s a good way to use extra branches from your Christmas tree! Or check to see if any of your neighbors have spare branches.

And mulching your bulb plants with evergreens or other mulch will help protect them if we get wild swings in weather, too.

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