Companion Plants for Daffodils’ Fading Foliage


One of the most beloved harbingers of spring, daffodils (genus Narcissus), thrive in the plant hardiness zones 4 through 8 recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. But as the weeks go by, the formerly beautiful blossoms are gradually succeeded by unattractive, wilting leaves. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, this is an unpleasant but essential process because when the foliage dies, it returns nutrients to the bulb, which allows the bulb to bloom again the following spring. Although this process is undesirable, it is necessary. Many amateur gardeners chose companion plants for their daffodils with the express purpose of concealing the daffodils’ wilting leaves.

Perennials To Hide Bulb Foliage

Daffodils and the plant known as Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ may be found growing in virtually the same zones and conditions. These plants are hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, and they produce blue flowers immediately after the daffodils have lost their blooms. Over time, the plants will develop clumps that may reach a height and width of up to 1.5 metres, which is sufficient to conceal the majority of the daffodil foliage when it goes brown. In addition, the foliage is not tightly packed, so it will be possible for daffodils to grow in and around the plants in later years.

The plant’s leaves become a beautiful golden yellow in the fall, making it an alluring addition to any garden from spring through fall. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, ‘Blue Ice’ may survive in either full sun or partial shade as long as the soil is healthy and has good drainage. Another perennial that thrives in the cold, temperate conditions of USDA zones 4 through 8, the Aruncus dioicus is a good example. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, this enormous plant may reach heights of 6 feet and widths of 4 feet as it matures. It is often known as goat’s beard because to the long, drooping plumes of white flowers that it bears.

Because it blooms in both April and May, its flowering period may overlap with that of late-blooming daffodils in April. Planting this perennial beneath daffodil beds is recommended not just due to its size but also for the reason stated above. Once the plant starts to bloom, the spectacular blooms quickly divert one’s attention away from the daffodils in front of it, which have foliage that is starting to die off. The ideal conditions for growing goat’s beard are partial shade, wet, and nutrient-dense soil.

Annual Companion Plants for Daffodils

The highly bright blossoms of the tropical shrub Lantana camara make it a desired landscaping addition. This lovely plant is susceptible to frost, which is why it is most often planted as an annual. However, the Missouri Botanical Garden states that it may be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 10 and 11, where it is hardy. This flower, which blooms in the summer, displays a variety of colours, including orange, red, yellow, white, and purple, often all on the same cluster of flowers, from July until the first frost of October.

Lantana can grow to a height of three to four feet and a width of one to three feet; not only is it able to conceal the yellowing leaves of daffodils, but it also does not need a lot of irrigation. Because of this, you should consider planting it next to daffodils, which are susceptible to rot if they get an excessive amount of water when they are dormant. It is possible for it to become invasive in USDA zones that do not experience cold and to dominate the development of the understory, squeezing out other plants that are more attractive.

Another tropical plant that is often cultivated as an annual is the Pelargonium x hortorum, also known as the zonal geranium. However, in USDA zones 10 and 11, this plant may also be grown as a perennial. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, this plant thrives in either full sun or moderate shade and is prized for the huge clusters of blooms that may be any of the following colours: pink, purple, red, orange, or white. Because it can survive in dry circumstances, much as Lantana camara, it is an excellent option for planting on top of tulip bulbs. Additionally, it blooms in the summer, which means that its blossoms might disguise the yellowing of the daffodil leaves.

Foliage Companion Plants

Covering the daffodil leaves with other, more fascinating foliage is one method for disguising their diminishing appearance. The brilliant leaves of the Hosta (Hosta spp.) plant is one of the reasons it is so popular. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the leaves of the Hosta ‘Francee’ variety are large, brilliant green, and bordered in pure white. In the spring, when the leaves of daffodils are just beginning to turn brown, the stunning leaves begin to unfold. The optimal conditions for growing ‘Francee’ are USDA zones 3 through 9 and either partial or full shade.

The Carex morrowii plant There is a species of sedge known as ‘Ice Dance’ that is recommended for use as a companion plant for daffodils. This decorative grass has long, slender leaves that drape beautifully toward the ground. Because of this, it is able to readily conceal the foliage of daffodils that are located nearby. The plant known as ‘Ice Dance’ has dark green leaves that have white borders and does well in either partial or full shade. The Missouri Botanical Garden recommends planting it in USDA zones 5 through 9 for optimal growth.

Other Bulb Plants

The Bletilla striata is a gorgeous terrestrial orchid that has blooms that are a light lavender colour and leaves that are tall and rigid. The bulb plant does best when it is given some shade and planted in a nutrient-dense, well-drained soil. This is the same kind of soil that is ideal for growing daffodils. The plant, which is also known as the Chinese ground orchid, can flourish in USDA zones 5 through 9 and produces flowers immediately after daffodils have finished blooming.

The genus Lilium has a vast family of plants that are most often referred to as lilies. Lilies are highly appreciated for their extended blooming seasons, which may last anywhere from June all the way through August, making them ideal companion plants for daffodils. These summer blooming bulbs come in a variety of colours and patterns as they bloom. The optimal growing conditions for members of the Lilium genus are USDA zones 3 through 8 with full sun to light shade. They will bloom after your daffodil bulbs are beyond their prime if you plant them in a fertile soil that has good drainage beside the bulbs.