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Johnson County

Research-based Information You Can Trust — Localized for your needs

Johnson County
11811 S. Sunset Drive
Suite 1500
Olathe, KS 66061

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday,
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

(913) 715-7000
(913) 715-7005 fax

Map to our office

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Bulb Flowers

Dividing daffodils:

I have a few clumps of daffodils that have been in the garden for a number of years. A friend told me I should dig and divide them. They bloom well each spring, so is there a reason to divide?


As long as you are happy with the blooms that the daffodils are producing, there is no need to divide. Bulbs such as daffodils can be left in place for many years without requiring thinning. However, it would be time to dig and divide when a reduction in flowering occurs or you would like to move some of the bulbs to other areas of your garden. The best time to dig is after the foliage dies down naturally in the early summer.

Fertilizer for spring bulbs:

Could you recommend a good fertilizer for my spring flowering bulbs?


Even if bulbs have been fertilized in the past, taking a soil sample is recommended to determine how much phosphorus and potassium are present in the soil. If the soil needs phosphorus or potassium, use a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1 rounded teaspoon per square foot. If phosphorus or potassium is not needed, blood meal makes an excellent fertilizer. It should be applied at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet or 1 teaspoon per square foot. Turf fertilizers such as 27-3-3 can be applied at one-third the manufacturer’s recommended rate

When to fertilize spring bulbs:

I have heard conflicting information about the best time to fertilize my tulips and daffodils. What is recommended by Johnson County Extension?


The best time to fertilize spring flowering bulbs is when the foliage emerges in the spring. This is when roots are most active and will use the nutrients to produce flowers for the following year. Traditionally, gardeners have applied fertilizer during bloom or shortly after. However, research has shown that the roots start to die at flowering; therefore, fertilization at this time is wasted.

Late planting of bulbs:

I bought some tulips and daffodils with good intentions of planting them in the fall. Now it’s December and they are still in the garage. Is it too late to plant them now?


At this time of year, you have two choices. First, take advantage of a warm day and get them in the ground as soon as possible. Late planting of bulbs will reduce root development, but the bulbs will still perform well in the spring. Or second, you could hold them for planting next fall.

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K-State Research and Extension Johnson County Master Gardener logo

Have questions? The Garden Hotline is staffed by trained EMG volunteers and Extension staff who will assist you with questions.

Phone: (913) 715-7050

Email: garden.help@jocogov.org