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 26000 different daffodils registered; of these, it is thought that only about 10% are available commercially.
The most widely sold daffodil of all time is the large cupped yellow daffodil 'Carlton'. It is still available. The world's leading growers of daffodils are England, Netherlands, then USA (mostly on the west, north west coast areas of California, Oregon, and Washington).
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.
variation - Daffodil color or division may vary as the bloom reaches full maturity.
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
Daffodil blindness - failure of daffodils to bloom despite healthy foliage Usual cause is overcrowding.
crenate - having a round-toothed or scalloped edge (term used in description of cup's rim).
striate - marked with lines
whorl - rings of petaloid segments in a double flower
Corona - cup
Perianth - petals
ADS - American Daffodil Society
RHS - Royal Horticultural Society This esteemed body is the Keeper of the Gate for the daffodil world.
classic - daffodils created between 1940 and 1969
historic - daffodils created before 1940
heirloom - pre 1930
intermediate - Neither miniature nor standard size (examples include 'Rip van Winkle', 'Topolino', 'Grower's Pride', 'Dallas', and 'Smiling Twin').
miniature - not an official designation; usually describes daffodils in the 6 inch height range with blooms about an inch in diameter. 'Tete-a-Tete' is a good example, probably the most utilized 'miniature'.
Sport - a mutation
Reverse bicolor - Petals are predominantly yellow, cup white.
Bicolor daffodil - Petals are predominantly white, cup yellow.
Daffodils bring cheer to the spring garden with abundant flowers in hues of yellow, white, pink, salmon, orange, and red., 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 4 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.
Daffodils are divided into 13 divisions based on their flower shape and dimensions and their heritage. This was standardized by the Royal Horticultural Society of England in 1950. Each division is assigned a number.
Div. 1 - Trumpet Daffodils - The cup (trumpet) is longer than or equal to length of the the petals. One flower per stem.
Div. 2 - Large Cupped Daffodils - The cup is more than 1/3 length of the petals but not longer than the petals. One flower per stem.
Div. 3 - Small Cupped Daffodils - The cup is less than 1/3 length of the petals. One flower per stem.
Div. 4 - Double Daffodils - Double the number of petal parts or cup parts or both. No clear distinction between cup and petals.
Div. 5 - Triandrus Daffodils - Two to five pendent (hanging downward) flowers per stem. Petals are somewhat reflexed (bent backward).
Div. 6 - Cyclamineus Daffodils - Petals are swept back from the cup (significantly, at an acute angle), very reflexed.. One flower per stem.
Div. 7 - Jonquilla Daffodils - One to five small fragrant flowers per stem. Petals are spreading or reflexed. (Good for southern gardens)
Div. 8 - Tazetta Daffodils - Up to twenty fragrant small flowers per stem. (Good for southern gardens)
Div. 9 - Poeticus Daffodils - Pure white petals, small disk like cups with green or yellow center and red rim. Fragrant.
Div.10 -Bulbocodium Daffodils - 'Hoop Petticoat' Petals insignificant to cup. One flower per stem. Short.
Div.11a - Split-Cupped Collar Daffodil - Cup is split into segments, usually two whorls of three segments.
Div.11b - Split Cupped (Papillon) Daffodil - cup split into six laid back (against petals) sections.
Div.12 - Miscellaneous - Cultivars that do not fit into any other division.
Div.13 - Distinguished by botanical name, species and wild daffodils.
Special features of daffodils
Easy care/low maintenance
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)
Deer resistant, as close to deer-proof as a plant gets
Good investment for gardeners as most daffodils reliably return year after year and usually replicate themselves.
Choosing a site to grow daffodils
Select a site with full sun (preferred) to light shade and well-drained soil.
Plant daffodil bulbs in fall, 6 to 8 weeks before a hard frost is expected and when soils are below 60 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. In heavy clay, plant only twice as deep as the height of the bulb, especially if you plan to mulch on top. 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.
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.
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. If you have a rodent problem, you may want to avoid fertilizing with straight bone meal.
Every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.