Dreaming of Daffodils
I’m a beginning gardener. I have lots of ideas but little experience. The basic landscaping package that came with our new construction home is, well… basic. Now that my family has gotten settled, it’s time to spruce up the yard and put our stamp on it. I want color. I want a flowers to cut. I want daffodils.
Slideshow: 9 Daffodils to Cheer Up Your Garden
At first, I wanted tulips. But I discovered they can only really be counted on to come back year after year in Holland. I live in Delaware, so I want something more reliably perennial. Daffodils fit the bill. They are among the first color to pop up in the spring, they are hardy, and planted in a sunny, well-drained spot, they will multiply and come back year after year. Perfect!
• Daffodils come in a lot of varieties. A lot. There are a staggering 50 or so species, and over 13,000 hybrids. Plenty to choose from! Here are some interesting and helpful tidbits I found while researching this soon-to-be addition to my garden. Thanks, American Daffodil Society!
• Daffodils are wildlife-resistant, because they contain poisonous crystals within the bulbs—yuck! Squirrels and rodents might dig them up, though. You can place chicken wire over them and cover with mulch to combat that.
• Daffodil bulbs make their next year’s bloom after flowering, so water for about three weeks after blooming time, then stop. And don’t cut the foliage after blooming until it starts to yellow.
• You can leave daffodils in the ground for 3-5 years. If they fail to bloom, it might be time to dig them up and move them to another spot.
• To dig and store daffodils, wait until the foliage has yellowed and been cut. Dig them up, wash them thoroughly, and let them dry out completely—for a least a week. Store by putting them in onion sacks or panty hose, hanging them in a dry, cool place until you are ready to plant again.
• Daffodils will normally divide every year or two, which can result in large clumps of bulbs competing for food and space. They may stop blooming. If that happens, dig up the bulbs after the foliage has yellowed and divide them into single bulbs again. Plant them about six inches apart, either as you’ve dug them up or in the fall after you’ve dried and stored them. Voila, more daffodils!
Like all other spring flowering bulbs, you want to plant daffodils in the fall, so their roots have time to get established before the first frost. Choose a well-drained, sunny spot and plant them so that their top (pointed end) is at least twice as deep as the bulb is high. (For a bulb that is 2” high, the top should sit 4” under the ground.) The flowers need lots of water while they are growing, but avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers. Also, be aware that daffodils tend to like slightly acidic soil.
I can’t wait until spring to see the fruit of this autumn’s labor in my planting beds. I plan to have lots of yellow blooms bringing cheer to our home both inside and out.
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