How to Grow Daffodils Indoors

Daffodil bulbs require a cold season to grow and bloom. If you plant bulbs outdoors in the fall, you must wait until the spring for them to bloom, but you can enjoy the blooms much earlier if you choose to grow daffodils indoors. Growing bulbs indoors is known as forcing bulbs. When you force daffodils, you try to replicate the conditions of the cold season they would experience if you had planted them outdoors.


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    Select a variety of daffodil to plant.
    • Decide whether you want to purchase bulbs that will grow without cold treatment. You can grow the Paperwhite variety by simply planting the bulbs in an indoor pot and waiting 2 to 6 weeks. Most other varieties will require cold treatment, which adds an additional 12 weeks to the required growing time.
    • Choose a plant size. Many different sized daffodils are available, including miniature varieties like Little Gem and February Gold. Some large varieties may not be as well suited to indoor planting since the heavy blooms may require staking for support.
    • Pick a color. Most daffodils are yellow, white, or yellow and white, but there are even pink and white daffodils available, like the double bloomed daffodil.
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    Purchase daffodil bulbs. Look for bulbs that are firm and unblemished. Don't buy bulbs that are soft or sprouting. Consider purchasing double nosed bulbs, which will produce 2 blooms per bulb.
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    Select a pot 6 to 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm) in diameter and 12 inches (30.5 cm) deep with drainage holes and a drainage tray. The deep pot will provide adequate room for root growth.
    • Use a smaller pot if you are planning to grow miniature daffodils. A 6 inch (15.2 cm) depth should be sufficient.
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    Fill the pot with a peat moss based potting mix. Leave space at the top for the bulbs.
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    Place the bulbs in the pot. Put the bulbs in pointed end up. Use as many bulbs as will fit in the pot without their sides touching.
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    Cover bulbs loosely with additional potting mix. The pointed tips of the bulbs should just barely show through the soil.
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    Water thoroughly.
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    Place pot in cold storage. The cold treatment will mimic the conditions the bulbs would experience if you had planted them outdoors. Temperatures from 35 to 48 degrees F (1.7 to 8.9 degrees C) are ideal. The bulbs will not grow properly if it is either too cold or too hot.
    • Cover the soil in the pot with a loose layer of leaves or sawdust to help regulate the temperature.
    • Pick a location that is dark and cool. Good options include basements, garages or refrigerators. In Southern climates where it does not freeze outside, you can dig a hole and bury the plant outside.
    • Keep soil moist, but don't overwater.
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    Wait for shoots to appear. Most daffodils will require around 12 weeks of cold treatment. You will know your pot is ready to bring to a warmer climate if you see shoots about 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 cm) in height and you see white roots coming out of the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.
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    Place the pot in a warmer location. The temperature should be around 50 degrees F (10 degrees C), and there should be low light. Leave the pot here for 2 to 3 days.
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    Move pot to a sunny window. The new location should be 60 to 65 degrees F (15.6 to 18.3 degrees C). Warmer temperatures may cause the plants not to bloom.
    • Rotate the pot daily. Daffodil shoots will lean towards the light source. Turning the pot frequently will keep your plants from leaning in 1 direction.
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    Wait for your daffodils to bloom. It typically will take 3 to 5 weeks after the cold treatment before flowers appear, but it will vary based on the variety. Once the plants bloom, the flowers will last for approximately 1 month.
    • Move the daffodils out of direct sunlight once they've bloomed to prolong the life of the flowers.


  • You can cover the pot with an empty box, large pot, or black garbage bag to keep it dark during the cold treatment period if your storage area receives sunlight.
  • Longer cold treatment will result in taller plants.


  • Don't store your pot in a refrigerator alongside fruits and vegetables. Ripe fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas which can damage the bulbs.
  • You can only force daffodil bulbs once. You can plant the bulbs outdoors after forcing, but your plants will not grow if you attempt to force them a second time.

Things You'll Need

  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Pot and drainage tray
  • Peat moss based potting mix
  • Sawdust or leaves

Article Info

Categories: Indoor and Patio Plants