What You Need to Know About Daffodils

According to mythology, there was once a Greek youth who was so entranced with his own beauty that he sat admiring his own reflection in the water, unable to leave until he finally turned into a flower. The flower he turned into was the very beautiful daffodil, perhaps as a parallel to the young man’s unmatched beauty.

narcissus

Daffodils, aside from being beautiful yet hardy flowers, are usually welcomed by all because it’s a sign that spring has arrived. These perennials are characterized by bright yellow or snowy white flowers usually made up of six petals around a trumpet-shaped center.

Daffodils are excellent for cutting or for using in bouquets. However, they must be kept in a separate vase as they release a substance that’s harmful to other flowers sharing its vase. These flowers are traditionally taken as a natural herbal remedy for various diseases. Currently, they are also being studied as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

white-daffodils

Growing Daffodils

If you would like to see daffodils adorn your spring garden, try planting your daffodil bulbs in the fall. Expect them to bloom in late winter or early spring, adding a bright splash of color to the usually subdued winter shades. Daffodils bloom in clusters, so a lot of gardeners plant them in large numbers to carpet their gardens with the lovely bloom.

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When planting daffodils, position them in a spot that offers full or partial sunlight. It should be noted that they grow facing the sun, so consider this when choosing where to plant them.

They grow best in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. The pH of the soil depends on the particular species.

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Plant large daffodil bulbs at least six to eight inches deep, medium bulbs at three to six inches, and smaller bulbs at two to three inches. If you’re not sure about the size, just make sure that the depth of the hole should be three times the bulb’s height. This ensures that the daffodils don’t bend downward as they grow.

It is best to space daffodils three to six inches apart, and they grow best in clumps rather than straight rows. In case the clumps get too congested, lift and divide them to give more room to grow. To do this, dig the clumps up after the foliage withers, divide them, then replant in soil amended with lots of organic material.

Credit: Chris Kreussling / flickr.com

Credit: Chris Kreussling / flickr.com

Daffodils benefit from a good mulching, as the young shoots can be susceptible to the chill winds. Use a bulb fertilizer when planting, and a low-nitrogen, high-potash fertilizer after flowering. Water them with around an inch of water every week while they are growing and blooming. Wait until the leaves mature and turn to yellow before cutting the foliage. Doing so before may lessen the subsequent blooms. Dig up the bulbs when the foliage turns to yellow. Wash them thoroughly then dry completely. Store them in onion sacks or panty house, then hang them in a cool, well-ventilated place until they’re ready to be planted.

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While daffodils are generally safe from deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents, they are still susceptible to the large narcissus bulb fly, bulb scale mite, narcissus nematode, slugs, narcissus basal rot, fungal infections and viruses.

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