Daffodils are one of those plants that seems to appear EVERYWHERE!
Many is the time I have asked myself ‘why do daffodils grow in random places?’.
Yesterday, I was driving down a fairly busy road with nothing of note anywhere near it.
Then all of a sudden punctuating the spartan verge of the roadside was a random cluster of daffodils!
So I thought it would make the perfect subject for my next blog.
And at the same time, it would satisfy my own curiosity.
So let’s dive in.
Why Do Daffodils Grow In Random Places?
If you see daffodils growing in unusual locations it is likely they have got there by human hand, even if they were just thrown there. Daffodils are incredibly hardy plants and will often grow without even the slightest effort being made to plant them in soil. Animals are also sometimes responsible for daffodils growing in unlikely places, or they may have been washed there in floods.
Reason #1: Animals Are To Blame
Despite the fact daffodils are toxic to most animals, if you see them popping up in unexpected places it could be down to our furry friends.
For instance, deers often grab the green shoots of a daffodil, pull the plant out and wander off happily chewing it, only to spit it out a little way down the line when they realize what they have.
Squirrels, chipmunks and even dogs may dig up and rebury bulbs somewhere else.
A couple of years ago I found two purple crocuses growing in my garden that I am certain had come from the house two doors away.
I am fairly sure they were dug up by squirrels and replanted in my garden.
Possibly they were acting off of residual memory and thinking they were nuts!
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Reason #2: Mother Nature May Have Put the Bulbs There
I am willing to bet that often when you see daffodils in a random place, there is a river not too far away.
As time and weather erodes the land, daffodils bulbs can be washed out of their original locations and redispersed.
Floods can carry them along the waterways, and deposit them in a new location where they can settle and flourish.
Reason #3: They May Be Growing in Areas That Used To Be Inhabited
Whilst you may sometimes see daffodils growing in an area that looks like no one has ever lived there, that might not have always been the case.
There may have once been houses or farms there.
Those structures might have even been demolished and cleared for other reasons, such as to make the space a haven for wildlife or to provide a pathway for hikers.
Whatever has happened, the plants that were there will have been left to fend for themselves.
And daffodils are pretty good at doing that, and can continue growing for some time.
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Reason #4: They May Have Been Roadside Memorials
Daffodils are often used in roadside memorials when people mark the spot where a loved one has sadly died.
They will often spread and grow in clusters, and this might indicate why we see them in random roadside locations.
Reason #5: They May Have Been Planted By Local Authorities
Many years ago in England, I worked for a local council.
I know that some of the local parish and village councils would add daffodils to roadside verges in an attempt to cheer the areas up in the spring.
Reason #6: People Planted or Threw Them There
I suspect the most likely, and obvious reason, is simply because someone has deliberately planted them there.
Or even someone simply tossed their bulbs away.
Daffodils are incredibly hardy plants.
If you are driving down the road and were to toss a couple of bulbs out of your car window, the chances are that within a year or two you would have a clump of daffodils growing there.
And that is without even making an effort to plant them.
People do chuck their bulbs in garden waste, or even over a wall.
Daffodils are the most resilient of plants, so we should not be surprised to see them growing in the strangest locations.
How Do Daffodils Spread?
Contrary to popular knowledge daffodils spread both sexually and asexually.
Asexual spread is the way most of us are familiar with. Through bulb division.
This is when a new bulb forms from the original bulb, and it usually takes place after around three to five years.
As the new bulb is still attached to the main bulb, the daffodils will not spread throughout the garden but will grow in clumps.
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Sexual spread is the process of daffodils multiplying through seed production.
When pollinated, daffodils will grow seeds in the seed pods that are behind their petals.
These seeds can be blown away or planted elsewhere, to give rise to new daffodils.
The whole process of growing a daffodil from seed can take a long time though – five to seven years to be exact!
So that could be one last reason you might see a daffodil growing in a random place.
Daffodil seed may have been spread around an area, and as it takes so long for a plant to grow from seed it might pop up totally unexpectedly.
But just remember the whole process probably started at least half a decade before.
One of the reasons you will find daffodils growing in the most random of places is because they are such hardy plants.
They can grow with minimal care and attention.
I think we can put their appearance in these unusual locations down to one of three factors though, human, animal or nature.
Most likely is the fact they have been planted or left in the location by human hand, but sometimes our animal friends might have unwittingly transported them, or they may have been washed there.
Either way, their sudden appearance when least expected should always be a cheerful sight.