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Daffodil, Large-Cup Hybrids
Large-cup daffodils greet spring with big flowers—one per stem—in different arrangements of white, bright yellow, orange, and even salmon-pink. The cups can be shaped like trumpets or bowls, and they display smooth or ruffled edges. With some varieties the cups are a different color than the petals. Color choices aside, this daffodil is great for naturalizing and mass plantings. Plant 25 to 50 of these robust bloomers and enjoy a spring color show that lasts for two weeks or more. Large-cup daffodils spread slowly over time but will bloom for decades—so choose a planting spot where you can enjoy them for years to come.
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Part Sun, Sun
From 6 inches to 3 feet
4-6 inches wide
Planting Large-Cup Daffodils
Large-cup and trumpet daffodils can deliver a color-rich spring flower show all on their own. Or pair them with other spring-flowering bulbs and you'll create a landscape destination for passersby as well as for family members viewing the scene from inside the house. One option is to plant a skirt of low-growing bulbs at the base of lofty large-cup daffodils. Choose from these easy-to-grow petite planting companions: grape hyacinth, iris reticulata, scilla, and species tulips.
Daffodils grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Poorly drained soil quickly leads to bulb rot. Improve poorly drained soil before planting the bulbs, or plant your daffodils in raised beds where you control the soil mixture. Daffodils grow best when surrounded by dry soil in summer, so skip the irrigated landscape beds.
Aim for a planting spot that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day—which may include the ground beneath the canopy of deciduous trees. Daffodil growth is nearly completed before deciduous trees leaf out in spring, which makes planting under the canopy of such trees possible. Bulbs planted under trees may require additional watering as tree roots can rob soil of moisture.
Plant daffodils in fall after the soil has cooled slightly but before cold weather sets in and the soil freezes. Plant daffodils so the base of the bulb is 6 to 8 inches below the soil surface (shoot for 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb is long). Space individual bulbs 6 to 12 inches apart. Make quick work of planting drifts of bulbs by digging a large trench and scattering several bulbs in the planting hole. Cover newly planted bulbs with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to prevent weeds and keep soil temperature uniform.
When daffodils finish flowering, the leaves go to work producing food and flowers for the following year. Although it is tempting to snip away daffodil foliage as it yellows, allow it to stand for about eight weeks after the plant blooms. At that point pull up the loose and withered foliage and toss it in the compost pile.
Varieties of Daffodil
'King Alfred' daffodil
This variety may be an impostor. The deep golden trumpet daffodil known as 'King Alfred' has been around for more than 100 years, but many of the bulbs sold under this name today are knock-offs, taking advantage of this variety's popularity. The true 'King Alfred' blooms in mid-spring on stems up to 22 inches tall. Zones 3-9