How to take care of daffodils in a vase - 5 expert tips from florists to make them last longer

Experts reveal how to take care of daffodils in a vase with 5 easy ways to make your Spring sprays look better for longer

How to take care of daffodils in a vase with a group of white vases
(Image credit: Alamy)

Knowing how to take care of daffodils in a vase is a way to get the most out of Spring. Daffodils are a ritual in themselves - along with lighter mornings and longer evenings, they're a symbol of warmer, carefree days ahead. 

No-one wants to see their spring spray wilt within a week. After all, having fresh flowers on display makes a modern home feel cheerful and welcoming.

Most flowers have their likes and dislikes. Whether that's being too close to a radiator, placed in direct sunlight or sitting in dirty water, it's good to know what they are. Whether you've picked them from your flower bed or plucked them from the store, once you're aware of the secrets it's easy to keep your cut daffodils fresh and looking good for longer.  


1. Buy - or pick - them in bud

daffodil in a pot

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It's tempting to pick up the bunch in full bloom, but if you buy those in bud, your flowers will last much longer.

'Daffodils are wonderful to display but they have unique traits and specific care needs,' says floral designer Hazel Gardiner. 'Buy them when the petals are just emerging from their papery, protective, shell known as the spathe. Once brought indoors you’ll then be able to enjoy them opening into full bloom.'

2. Keep daffodils separate from other flowers

jar of daffodils

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'Due to their unique traits, daffodils lend themselves perfectly to being arranged in billowing clusters,' says Hazel Gardiner. 'I like to gather them in vintage apothecary bottles with tall necks and contrasting heights for a display with depth.

Daffodils produce a toxic, irritant sap, quickly creating murky water filled with bacteria. Due to this, never place your daffodils in a container with other flower varieties; other stems sadly won’t survive. A solution is to place daffodils into a separate vessel, then put this inside a bigger vase if you do want to mix them.'

3. Trim the stems, and keep water shallow

bunch of paperwhites

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Daffodils come from the narcissus family, of which there are many different types.

'My most treasured varieties surprisingly aren’t yellow,' says floral designer Hazel Gardiner. 'I love the faded peach and creamy display of Narcissus Delnashaugh and Narcissus Actaea with its pure white petals and vivid yellow and red centre. Both make great cut flowers.'

'Paperwhites are our favourite type of narcissus,' says celebrity florist, Larry Walshe. 'They are soft stemmed and as such, should be cut straight across the stem as opposed to a 45° angle like other varieties. Narcissus should be placed in shallow water, as deep water will cause the soft stems to decay more quickly.'  

  • Take a look at all our favorite flower trends to be inspired to plant your own

4. Top them up every three days

vase of daffodils

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'The smaller quantity of water will be drunk faster, so please remember to keep topping them up,' adds Larry Walshe. 'Ideally top up or change stagnant water every 2-3 days.'

'Narcissus are thirsty so keeping water levels low will help with longevity. But you will need to keep an eye on water levels,' says Hazel Gardiner.

5. Keep daffodils away from fruit

vase of narcissus

(Image credit: Alamy)

When it comes to daffodils, there are single, double or - the most decorative - multi headed forms.

'Larger headed flowers tend to last longer than the more delicate varieties,' says floral designer Hazel Gardiner. 'Like all cut flowers, they will benefit from flower food and keeping them away from heat, direct sunlight and fruit.'

This last point may sound strange, but it's one Livingetc editor (and author of several plant books) Pip Rich backs up. 'Ripening fruit emits a gas (ethylene), which can cause cut flowers to wilt and wither, so don't place a fresh vase of daffodils anywhere near your fruit bowl.' 

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Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.