Fall is a wonderful time in the garden.  While fall marks the end of a growing season, it is just the start for spring bulbs.

“Few garden plants give as much pleasure with as little effort as daffodils. They are one of the most vigorous and colorful flowers of spring. They thrive in most soils, and can be counted on for many years of display,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

The best months for planting daffodils (Narcissus, actually) are September and October.

“Plant your bulbs before the soil temperature is cold, as fall planted bulbs need time to develop roots before winter sets in,” said Byers.

Daffodils do best when planted in full sun, in soil that is well drained, and in soil that has adequate organic matter.

“If planted in groups, in an area that won’t be disturbed – daffodils are a long term investment in beauty,” said Byers.

When choosing good bulbs, remember that size does matter. Larger bulbs will give a better show next spring. Choose two or three nose bulbs and select bulbs that are firm and free from rot, bruises or other damage.

When planting daffodils, space them between six and 12 inches apart. Plant with the base of the bulb six inches below the soil service.

“A small amount of a bulb fertilizer may be mixed into the soil around the bulbs – just don’t place it directly into the planting hole,” said Byers. “An organic mulch will encourage root growth in the fall, and protect the flowers from splashing soil next spring.”

For more information, contact one of MU Extension’s horticulture specialists or educators in southwest Missouri: Patrick Byers in Greene County at (417) 881-8909, Kelly McGowan in Greene County at (417) 881-8909 or Robert Balek in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158.

Or, call the Master Gardeners of Greene County at 417-874-2963.