Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus and are one of the most beautiful and popular bulb flowers in any garden. Other names for the daffodil include jonquil and white narcissi. One of the first flowers to make their appearance in early spring, the daffodil signifies the end of winter. Daffodils have a trumpet shaped center against star shaped petals. The trumpet is often a contrasting color to the star. Daffodils are generally around 2 feet tall with 5-inch blooms.

Daffodils are constantly recurring flowers with at least 50 species and many hybrids. Where climate is moderate, Daffodils flourish among the first spring buds. Daffodils often bloom in clusters.

Daffodils are native mainly to the Mediterranean region, in particular to the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Northern Africa and the Middle East.

In addition to the species, the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids. Generally Daffodils are yellow, and range from yellow-and-white, yellow-and-orange, white-and-orange, pink, and lime-green.

All Daffodils have a corona in the center that looks like a trumpet, and a ring of petals all around. The natural Daffodil is golden yellow color all over, while the trumpet may often appear in a contrasting color.

Site Preparation

Daffodils, like most flowers, prefer a well-drained, sunny location. The soil should be slightly acidic and include composted organic matter or manure.

Special Features

Daffodils have been recorded in history as early as the second century B.C. They are believed to have been native to the area around the Mediterranean Sea and were an important flower to both the Greeks and the Romans. Many homesteaders in the westward migration of the early United States felt that daffodils were an essential plant to have on the homestead. Many abandoned home sites can be recognized today by the clumps of daffodils growing in the fields.

Choosing a Variety

Daffodils come in a variety of color combinations. Most all daffodils have a majority of yellow, with different shades of yellows, golds and whites as contrast. Oranges, blues and greens are grown, but are limited in number of bulbs produced and sold. Miniature daffodils that grow only 2 inches tall are available for show or for container growing in the home.

Planting

Daffodil bulbs are planted in the late fall. Use a trowel to dig a hole 2 inches deeper than the size of the bulb. Take care to plant the bulb top up and cover with at least 2 inches of prepared soil. Once all bulbs have been planted, water the area thoroughly to remove any air pockets remaining in the soil around the bulbs.

Care

Daffodils need water every week during their growing season. Water, if needed, to provide approximately 1 inch of moisture weekly. Apply mulch around the plants to preserve moisture. After blooming, cut the foliage back when the leaves begin to yellow. Dig up the bulbs in early summer, wash and let dry thoroughly. Store the bulbs in burlap or potato sacks in a well ventilated area until time to plant in the fall. Alternately, the bulbs can be left in the ground and dug up for dividing every 5 years. This method may produce fewer flowers, but is also less work for the gardener.

Facts and Information about Daffodils

  • The garden Daffodil's ancestors come from the states around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain and Portugal, and the Middle East, such as Turkey. The earliest record mentioned about Daffodils was around two or three hundred years BC.
  • Grown extensively by the ancient Greeks and especially by the Romans, Daffodils nevertheless became a forgotten flower until about 1600, and even in 1860 there were fewer than 350 cultivated hybrids.
  • Around 1629, a group of Englishmen took the Daffodil out of the weeds and put it into the garden. Daffodils were in favor again.
  • During the days of the American experience and the expansion west, Daffodils were well established as a "must have" in the garden.
  • Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from Daffodils had healing powers. Actually the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin.
  • Daffodils are long lived flowers.
  • The daffodil bulb renews itself through its foliage each year.
  • Large bulbs will bloom better than smaller ones.

Growing Daffodils

Daffodils grow perennially from bulbs. In temperate climates they flower among the earliest blooms in spring. Daffodils often grow in large clusters, covering lawns and even entire hillsides with yellow.

Depth, as a general rule, needs to be thrice the height. This means large bulbs should have depth of 6 to 8 inches, medium size 3-6 inches and smaller size 2-3 inches. Always remember that the load of soil prove helpful to protect the bulbs from breaking too easily and keep them upright for a longer duration.

If this fact is ignored and enough depth is not given then the Daffodil will bend down very soon. Though Daffodil blooms will come in bigger clumps, the bulbs and flowers will be scant. Steps to grow Daffodils.

  • Plant Daffodils in late fall.
  • Choose a well-drained, sunny place, with slightly acidic soil.
  • Plant your Daffodils so that their top (pointed end) is at least two times as deep as the bulb is high (top of a 2" bulb is 4" deep).
  • Plant bulbs deeper in sandy soil than in clay.
  • High-nitrogen fertilizer should be avoided.
  • Daffodils need lots of water while they are growing.
  • After blooming, never cut the foliage until it begins to yellow (usually late May or June).
  • Then is the time to dig them. Wash the bulbs thoroughly and let them dry completely (at least a week).
  • Put them in onion sacks (or panty hose) and hang them in the coolest place you can find until ready to plant. Good air circulation will keep storage rot at a minimum.

Daffodil Plant Care

  • Like most perennials, Daffodil will do well with about 1 inch of water per week while they are actively growing and blooming - from March to May.
  • Watering the plant during its growing season is must, atleast once in a week.
  • Mulch can be tremendously helpful for Daffodils in conserving moisture.
  • The best thing you can do for your Daffodil bulbs is to provide them rich, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter in it.
  • Most organic bulb fertilizers can be placed right into the planting hole because they're very gentle and nonburning.
  • Since Daffodil is a perennial, every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.
  • When leaves of Daffodil plant begin to turn Yellow, cut the foliage back. Be careful not to cut before. Because remember that these leaves will feed the bulbs.
  • Remove air pockets in soil if present around the bulbs.
  • While replanting a daffodil plant, you have to plant it at the same depth as before.
  • Remove the flowers that wilt and fade which is called as deadheading. With this the plant gains strength and gives bigger blooms next time.
  • Plant the bulbs year ahead for blooming. Then it blooms as it adjusts to the new location.
  • Let the fallen leaves stay in the soil, if they are in woods, it feeds the soil and helps the plant to bloom.
  • The foliage must be allowed to grow and mature and die back.
  • Do not braid the foliage, because it reduces the surface area exposed to the Sun light.
  • No need of removing this dying foliage, because it serves as mulch.
  • Daffodils grow better in sunnier spot than in shady location.

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