Sunny, yellow daffodils (Narcissus) are a wonderful sign that spring has arrived! Plant the bulbs in the fall and they will bloom in late winter or early spring. Daffodils are hardy and easy perennials to grow in most areas in North America, except Southern Florida.
Their attractive flowers usually bear showy yellow or white flowers with six petals and a trumpet-shape central corona. Leafless stems bear between 1 and 20 flowers; sometimes the flowers need to be staked so that they don’t weigh down the stems.
Daffodils are suitable for planting between shrubs or in a border, or for forcing blooms indoors. They also look wonderful in a woodland garden and in large groves. You’ll find that many gardeners plant the bulbs not just by the dozens but by the hundreds! Their flowers are excellent for cutting.
The story of Narcissus:
Narcissus, in Greek mythology, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was distinguished for his beauty. According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book III, Narcissus’s mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life, provided he never recognized himself. However, his rejection of the love of the nymph Echo or (in an earlier version) of the young man Ameinias drew upon him the vengeance of the gods. He fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away (or killed himself); the flower that bears his name ( the Daffodil ) sprang up where he died. The Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias, in Description of Greece, Book IX, said it was more likely that Narcissus, to console himself for the death of his beloved twin sister, his exact counterpart, sat gazing into the spring to recall her features.
When to Plant Bulbs:
- Plant anytime before the ground freezes. In the lower South, where you may not have hard freeze, early November is a good time to plant.
- Ideally, plant your bulbs soon after you purchase them.
- See the chart below for type of bulbs by hardiness zone. In the warmer South, note that some bulbs need to be treated as annuals instead of perennials; they’ll bloom once and then they’re done. For example, you will have to plant tulip bulbs again each year. Still, they are a beautiful sight to behold and worth it! Other fall bulbs like daffodils will act as perennials and come up year after year.
- Daffodils do best in Hardiness Zones 3 to 9
To See What Zone you’re in Click HERE
Choose a well-drained, sunny place. Hillsides and raised beds are best. DRAINAGE is the key. Spade at least twelve inches deep. Improve your clay with well-rotted compost, soil amendment like DTE’S Rose and Flower Mix, or planting mix and raise the bed. Slightly acidic soil is best, so you might add soil sulfur if you have alkaline soil.
Plant your daffodils so that their top (pointed end) is at least two times as deep as the bulb is high (top of a 2″ bulb is 4″ deep). Exactness isn’t crucial; they’ll adjust. Plant bulbs deeper in sandy soil than in clay.
Top-dress again with a Bloom Nutrient that is low in Nitrogen and high in Phosphorus and Potassium, like General Hydroponics Maxi Bloom. when the leaf-tips emerge. As they flower, top-dress with a bloom BOOSTER like General Hydroponics Kool Bloom – High-nitrogen fertilizer should be avoided.
More on: General Hydroponics
Daffodils need lots of water while they are growing. Water immediately after planting and keep them moist until the rains come. Continue watering for three weeks or so after blooming time; then stop watering. The bulbs make their next year’s bloom after flowering. (Your first-year bloom is largely due to the previous grower of the bulb.)
You may leave daffodils down in the ground for between 3 to 5 years. If blooming does not happen one season, it would be best to move them to a new location.
After blooming, never cut the foliage until it begins to yellow (usually late May or June). Then is the time to dig them. Wash the bulbs thoroughly and let them dry completely (at least a week). Put them in onion sacks (or panty hose) and hang them in the coolest place you can find until ready to plant. Good air circulation will keep storage rot at a minimum.
Types of Daffodils:
Daffodils are classified in 12 different groups:
1. Trumpet Daffodils
2. Large Cup Daffodils
3. Small Cup Daffodils
4. Double Daffodils
5. Triandus Daffodils
6. Cyclamineus Daffodils
7. Jonquilla Daffodils
8. Tazetta Daffodils
9. Poeticus Daffodils
10. Bulbocodium Daffodils
11. Split Corona Daffodils
12. Miscellaneous Daffodils – These are the remainder of Daffodils that don’t fall under the above group