This Toxic Spring Flower May Be Secretly Killing All The Other Flowers In Your Vase

After the last snow melts and the spring flowers are finally pushing their way up through the damp soil, you may want nothing more than to pick a few of your first garden blooms and put them into a vase in the middle of your dining room table. And why not? Spring is finally here, and we should enjoy it. However, you may get frustrated when you realize that all your flower arrangements are quickly wilting and dying no matter how much plant food you add or how full of water the vase is. So, what's going on? Well, if your flower arrangement contains any type of daffodil, that's likely the culprit.


In fact, studies have shown that daffodils cause other flowers that are placed in water with them to wilt prematurely. This is especially true of roses and tulips which have been shown to turn yellow and die more quickly when placed in vases alongside daffodils. So, how does this innocent-looking spring flower secretly kill other flowers? As it turns out, it all comes down to poison and slime.

How daffodils kill

Daffodils are one of those flowers that you probably didn't know was deadly. However, these spring beauties contain a chemical toxin called lycorine which can cause nausea, vomiting, and even death (if the dose is high enough) in both humans and animals. It's this chemical that is released into vase water once a daffodil is cut and can poison other flowers that are particularly sensitive to it — like tulips.


However, not all flowers are sensitive to a daffodil's toxins. So, how do daffodils kill other flowers, like roses? As it turns out, along with releasing toxins into vase water, cut daffodils also release a type of sappy slime. This slime contains sugars and other natural compounds that promote the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water. The slime also helps block the cut stems of other flowers causing them to be unable to intake the vase water. The flowers, bogged down by bacteria and lacking in water, then start to prematurely wilt and die.

How to make flower arrangements with daffodils

However, that doesn't mean it is impossible to make flower arrangements with daffodils. In fact, you can put daffodils in a vase with other flowers as long as you condition them first to make the flowers release their toxic slime. You can do this by cutting the daffodils and then placing them alone in a vase of cool water and letting them soak. Florists often recommend soaking the flowers anywhere from one to three hours. Once that's done, go ahead and empty the water and rinse the vase out well before adding in your daffodils and other flowers along with a fresh helping of cool water. Make sure not to recut the daffodils as this will cause them to release more toxic sap.


While this method will help your flower arrangement live longer, the other flowers will still likely die slightly earlier than they would without their toxic vase companions. To prevent this, you can also add a special bulb-cut flower food to make the water safer for other flowers. Another option is to pair your daffodils with irises as — interestingly enough — daffodils have the opposite effect on irises and can actually prolong their vase life instead of shortening it. Lastly, you can always keep your daffodils in a vase alone or with other daffodils, but that's just not as much fun!

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