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.
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
Narcissus 'Ambergate' has a brick red to bronzy orange, widely flared cup surrounded by creamy yellow petals. The flowers are borne on stems up to 16 inches tall in mid-spring. Zones 4-8
This variety is an heirloom from 1938 that bears white flowers with a creamy-white cup. It grows 20 inches tall. Zones 4-7
Narcissus 'Carlton' is one of the most widely grown daffodil varieties. Its two-tone yellow blooms produce a delicate vanilla fragrance when they bloom in early spring. Flower stems reach 16 inches tall. 'Carlton' perennializes well in the South. Zones 4-8
'Flower Record' daffodil
This cultivar bears pure-white blooms with a yellow-orange cup marked by a red rim on stems up to 20 inches tall. It blooms in early to mid-spring. Zones 3-9
'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
'Las Vegas' daffodil
Narcissus'Las Vegas' shows off pure-white petals and a soft-yellow trumpet. An early-season bloomer, it grows 14 inches tall and naturalizes well. Zones 3-9
'Mon Cherie' daffodil
This variety is a large-cup daffodil bearing pure-white petals and a salmon-pink cup on stems up to 14 inches tall. Flowers peak in mid-spring. Zones 3-9
'Mrs. R. O. Backhouse' daffodil
Narcissus 'Mrs. R. O. Backhouse' is an heirloom selection from 1921 with white petals and a ivory-apricot trumpet. It grows 18 inches tall. Zones 4-8
'Pink Charm' daffodil
This cultivar bears flowers with white petals and an ivory cup with a coral-pink ruffled edge. As a bonus, many stems produce a second bloom. This daffodil grows 20 inches tall and blooms in mid-spring. Zones 4-8
Narcissus 'Pinza' has bright yellow petals and an orange cup with a gold center. It grows 18 inches tall and blooms in early to mid-spring. Zones 4-8
This variety dangles its pure-white blooms with a broad, ruffled coral cup on stems up to 18 inches tall. It is a mid- to late-spring bloomer. Zones 4-8
'Red Aria' daffodil
Narcissus 'Red Aria' sings in the spring landscape with its pale apricot-color petals and orange-red cup. It grows 18 inches tall. Zones 3-8
This cultivar bears overlapping, snow-white petals that surround a brilliant orange-pink cup. This variety flowers in mid-spring and grows 18 inches tall. Zones 3-8
Narcissus 'Sentinel' bears a radiant pink-and-orange cup poised on a background of snow-white petals. It grows 16 inches tall. Zones 4-8
'W.P. Milner' daffodil
This variety is a charming white miniature trumpet daffodil with creamy-white twisted petals. It's an heirloom variety from 1869. Stems grow 8 inches tall. Because of its short stature, you may want to grow it in containers to bring it closer to eye level. Zones 3-9
Narcissus 'Salome' is a seductive daffodil bearing thick white petals and a cup that opens yellow but matures to soft salmon-peach. It is a late-midseason variety that grows 16 inches tall. Zones 4-8