Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

How to Grow Daffodils Inside


Although names like “Paper white”, “Jonquil” and “Daffodils” distinguish one type from another, all are a type of Narcissus and many Narcissus bulbs can be “forced” to grow inside as well as in the garden.

Early Spring - Indoor grown Daffodils

Most often, the small, fragrant paper white (NDaffodils. tazetta) is the type of daffodil that is grown indoors. These tender bulbs are bred especially for the indoor gardener. Paperwhites are the only type of Narcissus that doesn’t require a period of cold and darkness to bloom. Even so, starting them in a cool, dark area helps stems to fill out and remain strong enough to support the blooms.


Paper whites almost guarantee a successful beginning for even the novice indoor daffodil gardener. These delicate beauties are so eager to sprout that in addition to the traditional soil-filled pot, you can grow them in a low dish of water and gravel or even a glass of water. Depend on paper whites to bloom from two to six weeks after “planting”.

Larger Daffodils

In addition to paper whites, there are several types of larger daffodils sold specifically for forcing indoors. However nearly any type of hardy outdoor daffodil can be coerced to bloom inside. When sorting through single bulbs at your garden center, select firm, “double nosed bulbs”, which bloom with two flowers instead of just one.

Forced Hardy Narcissus need some special care

Forced hardy Narcissus need a minimum 13-week winter rest period in order to bloom. You’ll need to start them 16 to 18 weeks before you expect flowers, since after resting they typically bloom in three to five weeks.

Planting Bulbs

Daffodils do well in containers that give their roots plenty of room to roam. Plant them in pots that are six to eight inches in diameter and at least a foot high. Spacing bulbs is easy. As long as they aren’t touching, they aren’t too close together. Container daffodils are planted a bit differently than those you grow in the garden. Outside, a good rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a depth of two to three times their height. Potted daffodils should be planted with their noses slightly exposed.

Flowering Bulbs - Spring Color in Containers

Red Tulip GardenFill your pots half full with potting soil. Since the daffodil bulb contains all the nutrients that the flower needs to grow, all you need worry about is that your mixture is moisture retentive with good drainage and loose enough to allow roots to grow freely. Add soil to within a half-inch to an inch from the top of your container and moisten the soil. After all this work, your daffodil bulbs are ready for a rest!


  1. Tulip Care
  2. Spring Flower Bulbs

Resting Daffodils

How you store your daffodils during their rest period depends on where you live. In southern areas where the ground doesn’t freeze solid, you can bury the pots outdoors or store them in a trench or box. In northern areas where temperatures dip severely, rest daffodil bulbs indoors and insulate them with a covering of leaves or sawdust to help moderate the soil temperature.

Cool them in the fridge

For gardeners who like to do things the easy way, planted bulbs can “winter” in a refrigerator that is kept at 35 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. However, when storing bulbs in a refrigerator, take care not to store them with apples or other fruits that produce ethylene gas.

Mark your calendar with the date you put your bulbs into storage and the date you expect to retrieve them. Keep potting medium moist during the storage period. In five to six weeks, you should see roots coming out the bottom of your pot. However, your daffodils still need more time in cold storage. In fact, longer storage results in taller flowers. At the end of the storage period, your daffodils will have developed an excellent root system and you should see the beginning of new growth sprouting from the top of your pot.

After storage, introduce your plants to your home by setting them in a well-lighted area with an average temperature of 60 to 63F. In three to four weeks, whatever the season, you’ll experience spring in the luxury of homegrown indoor daffodils!