Daffodils: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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Guidelines for Growing
Daffodil bulbs are planted in the Fall, for Spring bloom.

A well-drained, sunny spot, with excellent drainage is best, but they can be grown almost anywhere with great success.

Daffodils can do well in semi-shaded areas, too, but thrive in sunny areas.

Plant the daffodil bulbs with their top (pointed end) at least two times as deep as the bulb is high.

Really, Daffodils do well with minimal fertilizer. The many large, naturalized fields of Daffodils attest to this fact.

But you may top-dress with 5-10-10 when the leaf-tips emerge and as they flower, top-dress with 0-10-10 or 0-0-50. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer.

The bulbs make their next year's bloom after flowering, so never cut the foliage until it begins to yellow (usually late May or June).
The bulbs are receiving nutrients for next years' growth from the foliage.

Daffodils need plenty of water during their growing season and like to be dry in summer.

They may be lifted and divided after 3-5 years.

The dependable, spring-flowering daffodil is a favorite for its long life and carefree, colorful blooms. Other common names include jonquil and narcissus.

There are over 27000 different daffodils registered; of these, it is thought that only about 10% are available commercially.

Absorbed - term refers to daffodils having multiple names that have been determined a single cultivar by accreditation sources (American Daffodil Society a/o Royal Horticultural Society). This typically happens to historically older daffodils.

mucronate - term used describing petals meaning an abruptly tapering point such as at the end of a petal.

Poetazes - Cross of N. poeticus (division 9) and N. tazetta (division 8). Began in the 1890's. Examples include 'Admiration', 'Martha Washington', and 'Laurens Koster'. Usually listed under division 8 Tazetta

About daffodils
Daffodils bring cheer to the spring garden with abundant flowers in hues of yellow, white, pink, and salmon. Varieties are available in a range of sizes and forms. Flowers may be single or double, grow singly on a stem or with multiple flowers per stem, and height varies from 6 to 20 inches. Daffodils grow best in areas with cold winters, cool springs, and cool summers. Choose varieties that mature at different times to extend the bloom season. Unlike many spring-flowering bulbs, daffodil bulbs are not eaten by mice or voles.

The most widely sold daffodil of all time is the large cupped yellow daffodil 'Carlton'. It is still available.

Special features of daffodils
Easy care/low maintenance
Multiplies readily
Good for cut flowers
Most are forcible to make winter more colorful
Acts as a protectorate against squirrels and other garden bulb raiders (toxic to critters)

Choosing a site to grow daffodils
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.

Planting Instructions
Plant daffodil bulbs in fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected and when soils are below 60 degrees F. This is usually during September and October in the North, and October and November in the South. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole about 3 to 4 times as deep as the height of the bulb. Set the bulb in the hole, pointy end up, then cover with soil and press firmly. Space bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart. Water thoroughly after planting.

Ongoing Care
Keep the daffodil bed watered during dry spells in the fall. After plants are finished flowering in spring, cut back flower stalks but allow the leaves to die back naturally, hiding the unsightly foliage with annual or perennial plantings. An annual application of compost should provide adequate nutrients. Every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.

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