Daffodil, Small-Cup Hybrids
Daffodil, Small-Cup Hybrids
Small-cup daffodils possess all the same qualities as large-cup and trumpet daffodils with the difference being the size of their cups. To be classified as a small-cup daffodil, the cup (aka corona) must be less than one-third the length of the petals. Most small-cup daffodils bear only one flower per stem. Ranging from miniature daffodils standing 6 inches tall to those that tower 24 inches or more in the spring garden, these pretty plants look at home throughout the landscape. Small-cup daffodils often emit a lovely fragrance.
What to Pair With Small-Cup Daffodils
Since most small-cup hybrids bloom in mid-spring—the same time that early season tulips bloom—suitable plant pairings include species tulips and elegant Greigii tulips known for their mottled foliage. Plant petite grape hyacinth, Iris reticulata, crocus, and scilla at the base of tall Triandrus daffodils for a color show that extends from ground level to about 18 inches. These daffodils are also excellent choices for nestling among perennials because they often pop up before the perennials rise in spring. When the daffodil foliage begins to yellow and fade, the perennial foliage takes center stage and masks decaying leaves.
Small-Cup Daffodil Care
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 a 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 to 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.