How and When Should I Transplant Daffodils and Iris Growing In My Lawn?

“I have had some Iris’s and Daffodils shoot up in my yard. I love these flowers, and would like to know when would be a good time to dig them up and move them so I don’t cut them down with a lawnmower.” Question from Stacey of Hueytown, Alabama

Answer: Bulbs are pretty when they flower in lawns, but mowing their tops does disable them from gathering as much food as possible for next spring’s bloom. The iris and daffodils should be removed differently.

Digging Daffodils in Spring

Flower transplant of daffodils. Bulbous plant. Pot and tool primer. Wood background

Wait until the daffodils have finished blooming. Mow around them, if you can, while they flower. Once their flowers are done, gently dig them up. If you use a long, sharp spade you can easily dig to the base of each daffodil clump and loosen the bulbs without disturbing the turf to much. Be sure to wear gloves. Try to maintain the green tops of the bulbs in the process. Next, place the bulbs in holes around the garden in need of spring color. Plant them 6 to 8 inches down, and leave their green leaves up top to gather as much sunshine as possible. Mix a little bonemeal fertilizer into each hole to get them off to a good start. Trim the leaves back when they start to turn brown.

Digging Iris in Spring

The iris can be dug now and planted in the garden. They grow best in well-drained, fertile soil, so we recommend enriching the planting holes with Black Gold Garden Soil at planting time. Not only is this amendment rich in organic matter, but it feeds plants for up to six months. If it is a tall bearded iris, be sure its fleshy rhizomes are partially exposed at the top (see image below). Total coverage with soil will smother them. Sometimes iris are top-heavy, so you will likely need to pat the soil down around the rhizome to keep the plants secure and upright.

Iris rhizomes should be exposed at the tops when planted. (Image thanks to WikiHow)

I hope that this information helps!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

Does Potting Soil Age and Lose Nutrients Over Time?

“If you plant flowers in a flowerpot, do you ever have to change out the soil, or does the soil never lose its nutrients? Question from Jessica of Phoenix City, Alabama

Answer: Potting soil must be changed or replenished every couple of years or so for many reasons beyond the fact that a plant may have outgrown its pot. Not only do plants remove fertilizer nutrients in the soil, but the soil components also break down and become more acidic over time. You can always add fresh fertilizer to the potting mix, but the changes caused by decomposition can only be fixed by adding fresh potting soil. Here are four important characteristics of fresh soil that are lost with age.

The Four Important Characteristics of Fresh Potting Soil

Fresh Black Gold® potting soil has:

  1. Lots of air pockets to facilitate good drainage and aeration for healthy root growth. (As potting soil ages, and its organic matter breaks down, these air pockets are lost.)
  2. Better water-holding characteristics. (As potting soil ages, water is less available to plant roots.)
  3. A more neutral pH. (As potting soil ages, it becomes more acidic, which many plants do not like.)
  4. A better ability to distribute nutrients to plants. (As potting soil ages, plant roots have a harder time accessing fertilizer in the soil.)

After two to three years, replenish your pots with fresh potting soil. When I add new potting soil to my containers, I take the old mix and add it to my garden beds as an amendment. That way, nothing is wasted.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist