Daffodils, also referred to by their botanical name, narcissus, are easy growing bulbs and reliable harbingers of the coming warm weather.
They proliferate quickly and return to bloom again each spring, year after year. They are not fussy about soil, will grow in sun or part shade and are not bothered by deer, rabbits, and other garden critters.
Yellow is the most common color for daffodils. Blossoms also come in white, cream, orange and even pink. There are also several different flower styles, including trumpets, doubles, split-cups, large-cups and jonquillas. When you plant an assortment of different types of daffodils you will have 4 to 6 weeks of beautiful, carefree flowers every spring.
START WITH A GOOD-SIZED BULB
It is easy to see the difference in quality when you compare two daffodil bulbs side by side. As with most flower bulbs, narcissus are graded by size and measured in centimeters around the “waist” of the bulb. Larger, 5 inch daffodil bulbs will produce more stems and more flowers than smaller, 4 ¼ inch bulbs.
Each year’s crop of daffodil bulbs is a little different, due to weather conditions before and during the harvest. Bulb size also varies by cultivar, with some varieties of daffodils naturally producing larger bulbs than others.
A LITTLE PLANNING, LOTS OF SUCCESS
Sun or Shade: Daffodils will grow in full sun or partial shade.
Hardiness Zone: Daffodils are winter hardy in growing zones 3-8 and will return to bloom again year after year. If you live in a place with relatively warm winters, read about spring bulbs in warmer climates. If you do not know your hardiness zone, refer to the USDA Hardiness Zone Map here.
Soil Conditions: Daffodils are not fussy about soil. They are happy to grow almost anywhere provided the soil is not soggy.
WHERE TO PLANT DAFFODILS
Front Yards: Planting daffodils in front of your house provide a wave of welcoming spring color for years to come. To extend the flowering season, choose varieties with complementary bloom times. For a formal look, plant in blocks, keeping each variety separate. Combining different flower shapes and colors will offer a more casual, naturalistic effect.
Perennial Gardens: Daffodils come into bloom before most perennials. Planting daffodils in your flower beds promise flowers as soon as the weather begins to warm up. Miniature daffodils are an excellent choice for flower gardens as their leaves are narrower and do not get in the way.
Cut Flower Gardens: Celebrate the color and fragrance of spring with bouquets of daffodils that can be enjoyed indoors or be shared with friends and family. Planting daffodils in a cutting garden will ensure you always have plenty of blossoms to cut.
Naturalizing: Daffodils are ideal for naturalizing in meadows, wooded areas or near ponds and streams. They come back reliably every year and are not bothered by deer or rodents. For recommended varieties for naturalizing.
HOW TO PLANT DAFFODILS
When to Plant: Daffodils may be planted from mid-fall through early winter -- any time before the ground freezes. For best results, plant the bulbs within a month after you receive them.
Depth and Spacing: Dig a hole 6” deep. Set the daffodil bulb into the hole pointy side up. Cover the bulb with soil and water the area if the soil is dry.
Planting Tips: Daffodils look best when they are planted in informal groups rather than in straight rows. Clusters of bulbs in a triangular, oval, or rectangular shape will have a fuller, more natural look.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN SPRING
Daffodil bulbs develop roots in the fall and then go dormant for the winter. They will begin growing again as early as February or as late as April. Do not worry about snow or freezing temperatures harming the foliage; daffodils are very cold hardy.
When the foliage is about 6 inches tall, flower buds will start to emerge from the base of the plant. The stems will gradually grow taller, and the buds will get larger and begin showing color. Depending on weather conditions, you can expect this process to take 3-6 weeks.
CARING FOR DAFFODILS AFTER THEY BLOOM
Daffodils are hardy in zones 3-8 and do not need to be dug out at the end of the season. Once planted, the bulbs will flower again every spring, usually in increasing numbers. Here are some tips to ensure your daffodils bloom for many years to come.
Once the flowers have wilted, you can snap off the spent blooms. Though not essential, but it will keep your garden looking neat.
Daffodil bulbs use their foliage to create the food energy required for another year of flowers. It is important to allow the foliage to continue growing until it dies back naturally. Once the leaves have lost their green color, they can be removed.
Most daffodil bulbs will produce one to three flowers the first spring after planting. Over time the bulbs will divide and multiply, giving you more stems and more flowers, for an ever more impressive show of color.
Clumps of daffodils can eventually get large and overcrowded, which can cause a decrease in flower production. If this happens, dig up the bulbs, divide them and replant. The best time to do this is within a month after flowering, while the foliage is still green.
No matter what daffodils you plant, any will make a gorgeous addition to your to early spring garden and landscaping. If you need additional help with choosing and planting bulbs, contact Homescape Now, the premier urban landscaping company in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.