Narcissus (Daffodil): Stem and bulb nematode

categories: Bulbs Narcissus (Daffodil) Narcissus (Daffodil) Diseases Ornamentals

revision date: 2023-02-07 12:00

External Narcissus bulb nematode damage.
Narcissus nematode damage
Photo by: R.S. Byther


Nematodes are tiny (often microscopic), parasitic worms that live in the soil and in infected plant parts. The stem and bulb nematode of narcissus feeds mainly on aboveground portions of the plant. The initial symptom is the presence of small swellings or “spikkels” on the leaves. Foliage is distorted and turns yellow or brown in affected areas. Flowers may be delayed or absent. The nematodes may move into the bulb, causing brownish areas in the bulb tissue and sometimes causing softening or rotting of stored bulbs. Plantings infested with nematodes often show circular areas of stunted or prematurely yellow plants. These patches expand gradually.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Remove and destroy infected plants and bulbs.
  • Prevent contamination with infested soil. Clean equipment and tools before moving from infested to clean areas.
  • Plant only firm, healthy bulbs.
  • Clean up and destroy dead foliage.
  • Hot-water treatment of bulbs (4 hours at 111° F) will kill nematodes, but may increase disease problems (especially basal rot) if diseased bulbs are dipped. This treatment can also result in flower and leaf distortion in the season after treatment.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

None recommended

Additional Images