Daffodils (Narcissus) are a must for the spring garden. I look forward with anticipation each spring as they begin to emerge from the ground. And they can be used in so many ways--in masses for a carpet of color, in small groups in the woodland garden, in a cutting garden to bring in for arrangements, in containers, or under deciduous trees where they will get sun until the tree leaves emerge. They are easy to grow, the clumps will increase in size and they are deer resistant. Plant narcissus bulbs in the fall, in full sun (preferably at least 6 hours a day) or dappled shade, in well-drained soil. After flowering, do not remove the foliage, or tie it in knots, but allow to die away naturally, the bulbs need the foliage to make food for next year's flowers. Scatter a little bulb food on the ground around the bulbs after blooming, lightly scratch it into the soil and water. Eventually, the clumps will get quite dense and begin to produce fewer flowers, then you will know that it is time to divide them. The best time to divide them is after the foliage turns brown, then you can dig the clump and separate the bulbs to replant. That's the nice thing about daffodils--they perennialize very well and eventually you will have quite a lot and you can share with friends or perhaps create a "river of daffodils" like the picture above.
It is fun to plant a few new ones each fall. There
are so many different types of daffodils that they have been officially placed
into 13 divisions. The descriptions and
criteria for each division below are from the American Daffodil Society. try some of each group for a variety of colors, shapes and bloom times.
Trumpets--One flower to a stem, corona (trumpet or cup) as long or longer than the perianth segments (petals).
Examples: Bravoure, British Gamble, Dutch Master, Goblet, King Alfred, Lemon Glow, Marieke, Mount Hood, Pistachio, Spellbinder, Topolino
Large-Cupped Daffodils--One flower to a stem, corona (cup) more than one third but less than equal to the length of the perianth.segments (petals).
Examples: Avalon, Fragrant Breeze, Delibes, Flower Record, Fortissimo, Ice Follies, Perfect Lady, 'Pink Charm,' Professor Einstein, Salome, Sound
Small-Cupped Daffodils-- One flower to a stem, corona (cup) not more than one third the height of the perianth segments (petals).
Examples: Altruist, Barrett Browning, Goose Green, Jamestown, Princess Zaide, Royal Princess, Segovia, Sinopel
Double Daffodils-- Daffodils have a clustered cup, petals or both. There can be one or more flowers per stem.
Cheerfulness, Delnashaugh, Feu de Joie, Ice King, Replete, Rip van Winkle, Tahiti,
Wave, White Lion, Yellow Cheerfulness
Triandrus Daffodils-- Usually more than one flower to a stem, head drooping, perianth segments often reflexed and of silky texture. There are usually two or more blooms per stem.
Examples: Hawera, Ice Wings, Lemon Drops, Liberty Bells, Petrel, Stint, Thalia
Cyclamineus Daffodils-- One flower to a stem, perianth significantly reflexed and corona straight and narrow. flower at an acute angle to the stem, with a very short pedicel (neck).
Gold, Jack Snipe, Jetfire, Peeping Tom, Rapture, Snipe, Wisley
Jonquilla Daffodils-- Usually several flower heads to a stem, flowers usually fragrant, stem is round in cross-section and foliage is often rush like.
Examples: Baby Moon,
Bell Song, Kedron, New Baby, Pipit, Quail, Prosecco, Stratosphere, Sweetness, Sweet Smiles
Tazetta Daffodils-- Usually three to twenty flowers to a stout stem, sweet scented and very short cupped. Perianth segments rounded and often somewhat crinkled.
Examples: Avalanche, Canaliculatus, Cragford, Falconet, Geranium, Minnow, Silver Chimes
Poeticus Daffodils-- Usually one flower to a stem. White petals sometimes stained with the corona color at the base, small flat cup edged with red. Fragrant.
Examples: Actaea, Angel Eyes, Pheasant's Eye
Bulbocodium Hybrids-- Small flowers resemble a “hoop petticoat” form.
Examples: Golden Bells, Cornish Cream
Split-Cupped Collar Daffodils-- Split-corona daffodils with the corona segments opposite the perianth segments; the corona segments usually in two whorls of three.
Examples: Apricot Whirl, Blazing Starlet, Cassata, Mondragon, Shrike, Sovereign, Tricollet
Split-Cupped Papillon Daffodils: Split-corona daffodils with the corona segments alternate to the perianth segments; the corona segments usually in a single whorl of six.
Examples: Lemon Beauty, Papillon Blanc, Sorbet
Miscellaneous Daffodils-- Division 12 consists of daffodils not falling into any of the previous categories. Many are inter-division hybrids.
Examples: Bittern, Jumblie, Tête-á-Tête
Species, Wild Variants and Wild Hybrids--Division 13 consists of the wild, natural daffodils.
Examples: N. cantabricus, N. cyclamineus, N. jonquilla, N. jonquilla 'Simplex,' N. x medioluteus, N. moschatus, N. x odorus, N. papyraceus, N. poeticus var. recurvus
Narcissus jonquilla 'Simplex' is a tiny historical daffodil with bright yellow scented flowers. There are multiple flowers per stem. Charming!
Narcissus moschatus, is a lovely charmer also called Silver Bells or Swan’s Neck. The dainty creamy trumpet nods towards the ground on a curved stem and the petals are almost parallel to it. Goes beautifully with small bulbs like grape hyacinths or scillas.
Narcissus x odorus 'Linnaeus,' known as the campernelle, is single with a scalloped cup and twisty petals, also very fragrant and a great naturalizer
Narcissus x odorus 'Plenus,' or 'Flore-pleno' is also called Queen Anne's double daffodil or the double campernelle, fragrant
Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus, is the old pheasant's eye daffodil, fragrant, with recurved petals and red-rimmed cup, late blooming
For more information about daffodils, visit the American Daffodil Society at www.daffodilusa.org .
Plant of the Month