Daffodils are one of the harbingers of spring. They are one of the first flowers to bloom. They will bloom with crocus, tulips, and forsythia. Daffodil flowers come in a variety of colors although the bright yellow is the most well-known and my personal favorite. Although this is an easy to grow plant there are a few tips and tricks that can make them stand out even more.
Although they bloom in the spring they should be planted in the fall. The bulbs should be planted 2 to 3 times the length of the bulb. They aren’t real picky though so don’t bother getting out the ruler. Just remember that the larger the bulb the deeper it needs to be planted. Planting daffodils with other spring blooming bulbs will give you a riot of color. They look their best when planted in a clump of at least 5 – 7 plants. One lonely daffodil is pretty but doesn’t really make a statement. Before you plant you really should add a nice dose of compost to the planting area. This will make the soil richer, softer, and more nutritious for your plants.
Cutting Back Daffodils
One of the biggest problems people run into is the ugly post flower foliage. Your flower bed will end up with these 6 or 7 inch green leaves that really aren’t all that attractive. The mistake people make is cutting these leaves off. Daffodils collect and store energy for flower production through their leaves. Cutting them down early can cause a poor showing the next year. Just leave the ratty foliage and pretend it isn’t there. This can be hard to do but one trick is to plant something that has foliage that you do like in front of them. This is a form of garden camouflage which can come in handy for many “problem plants”. Another part of cutting back is deadheading. If you want the best flowers you should deadhead as the flowers begin to fade. If you don’t deadhead the plant will spend part of its energy making seed instead of storing it for next year. If you want your plants to naturalize just let them do their little birds and bees thing and you’ll have seedlings all over the place.
Narcissus (another name) doesn’t require a whole lot in the way of additional fertilizer. They can take pretty lean soil but if you have really bad and poor quality soil you may want to give a little all purpose 5 – 10 – 10 fertilizer just to give them a boost. I don’t do this very often and when I do it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference but I’ve got pretty good soil happening.
After a few years have gone by you may notice that your daffodils have begun to flower less. This can be caused by over-crowding. They are easy to divide. You just wait until they have finished flowering and dig’em up, separate the bulbs, and replant. No fuss, no muss plants. Jonquils (yes yet another name) are prone to naturalizing so don’t be surprised if you end up with many more than you started with.