Daffodils are one of those plants that let you know that Spring has finally arrived. These are really easy plants to add to your garden as well, simply plant them a few inches below the ground in fall and in late winter or early spring you will have beautiful colors. Daffodils come in two colors, yellow and white with a number of varieties that mix colors in different ways. These beautiful bulbs grow in almost all of the US for the southern most parts of Florida.
USING DAFFODILS IN THE GARDEN
Daffodils lend themselves to many different garden settings because of the limited time of growing. The most stunning use of Daffodils for me is when they are used in mass planting. The fact that they flower so early means you could plant a large number of daffodils right in a lawn and by the time you need to mow the flowers are ready to be cut down. They also lend themselves to being tucked away into little open pockets in your garden or in woodland settings. Daffodils are also a popular choice for cut flower gardens and as a plant to forcing to bloom indoors.
Daffodils prefer full sun but can tolerate a small amount of shade. Daffodils are pretty tolerant when it comes to soil composition but you will want to check your specific bulb requirements when you purchase them. The soil conditions in the spring during the growing season should be moist but well draining. For the most part most daffodil varieties you will run into like neutral to slightly acidic soils but on rare occasion some varieties prefer alkaline soils.
SOME DAFFODILS PLANTING POINTERS
- When you pick out bulbs check to make sure they are still moist.
- If you’re picking bulbs in person choose a bag with the biggest bulbs.
- Daffodil planting times are 2 to 4 weeks before the ground freezes. In NY that generally around Thanksgiving.
- Daffodil planting depth is 1.5 to 5 time their height. I like to place a light layer of leaves over them to keep severe winters from harming the bulbs.
- For proper spacing keep them 3 to 6 inches apart but it your garden is tight you can crowd them a little bit more.
- Depending on your soil conditions it might be a good idea to add some bulb fertilizer.
- When your daffodils do begin to pop in the spring don’t help them out by uncovering them, a surprise frost may damage your daffodils.
HOW TO CARE FOR DAFFODILS
- If daffodils are underperforming applying a low-nitrogen and high-potash fertilizer (like this one).
- If the spring weather hasn’t brought much rain be sure to water in order to keep the soil moist. If the daffodil bulbs dry out they flowers may die-off.
- As flower heads die-off you can deadhead them to keep the dead flowers from ruining your garden aesthetics.
- Once the daffodils finish flowering wait at least 6 weeks until you prune them back to the ground. These 6 weeks allow the bulbs to collect energy for the next bloom.
- Daffodil bulbs will multiply and become crowded eventually. When that happens you need to dig up and divide the bulb clusters
- Adding Bone Meal ( Found Here)
- Daffodils don’t attract any of the regular garden pests from deer to rodents.
- Commons enemies of daffodils are narcissus bulb fly, bulb scale mite, narcissus nematode, slugs, narcissus basal rot and a few other fungal infections.
THE TOP DAFFODIL VARIETIES I RECOMMEND
The Daffodil ‘ Golden Ducat’ has true yellow colored double petals. The height is anywhere from 12 to 16 inches and blooms in mid to late spring.
The Daffodil ‘Petit Four’ is a popular option for those gardeners that want to add daffodils to a shady area. The flowers double cups of apricot pink stand out with white petals. These daffodils average a height of 16 inches.
Daffodil ‘Rip van Winkle’ is in a subset of daffodils in the miniature variety only growing to a height of 6 to 8 inches.