Daffodil Days

Like a favorite pup, daffodils are so eager to please. They grow short, they grow tall. They bloom in sunny meadows and under towering shade trees. And they come in countless varieties.
Growing Daffodils

What's in a name? You can pretty much use the terms "narcissus," "daffodil," and "jonquil" interchangeably these days.

When to plant Right now! If you want daffodils to flower in your garden next spring, you need to plant them in early fall. You should plant them before the ground freezes, but not so early that the warmth coaxesthem into growing (and then rotting).

How deep? Because daffodil bulbs come in different sizes, there dms is no one-depth-fits-all rule. Generally speaking, dig a hole three times as deep as the bulb is wide.

After they bloom Don't cut off or mow the foliage until after it turns yellow and falls over. There are nutrients in the greenery, and cutting will deprive you of blossoms next spring. And don't tie off the foliage in tidy little braids or ponytails either--you'll strangle thelittle darlin's. You can always hide drooping dieback by interplanting daffodils with later-blooming perennials.

A word about fertilizing Daffodils don't need or like it much. Top-dress only, with some bonemeal in the spring and wood ashes in the winter.

Daffodils as cut flowers You can bring your garden's color and fragrance indoors with a daffodil bouquet. Here are some hints to make the blooms last longer--a week or even more:

  • Harvest daffodils in the cool of the morning.
  • Instead of cutting the stems, snap them off. Pull hard and twist at the soil line to snap the stem where it is solid, not up where it's a hollow straw.
  • Daffodils' cut stems emit a sticky goo that will clog up the dms stems of other cut flowers in a vase. To "cure," immerse daffodil stems in warm water for two hours before mixing in a bouquet.
  • When not on display, daffodils last best in a cool dark place.

And now for something completely different The hoop petticoat or bulbocodium species looks kind of like a cheery yellow wind sock.

One last tip Daffodils have this endearing habit of following the sun. All day long, their flowers turn toward the sun as it arcs across the sky. Remember this when deciding where to plant, or you will find they turn their backs on you come spring.

Continued on page 2:  A Gallery of Great Daffodils