Daffodils for Every Garden

It’s April and I’ve got daffodils on my mind, as I have every spring.
W.F. Leenen

W.F. Leenen breeds new varieties of daffodils in his greenhouse in Holland. For more about how new flowers are created, read about Dutch flower breeders.

Daffodils bloom in drifts in my Vermont garden.

It’s April and I’ve got daffodils on my mind, as I have every spring. From early April, through May, and even into early June, waves of daffodils bloom in succession throughout my yard. Their blooms cheer commuters passing our house and begin the season of home-grown bouquets. Each autumn, when the bulbs become available for planting, I add a few new offerings from my favorite catalogs. My collection now exceeds 70 varieties.

The American Daffodil Society reports over 13,000 named daffodil hybrids within its twelve recognized divisions. The Daffodil Photo Database they sponsor is a valuable and fascinating resource for anyone who wants to identify what’s blooming in the yard, learn the history of a particular variety, or delve into the world of daffodil breeding. Even a casual glance through the images on this site reveals the diversity of daffodils’ bloom color, size, and shape.

Double varieties resemble carnations or miniature peonies while some in the split-corona division look like hibiscus. Some have two or more flowers per stems, others have long trumpets in the center of each flower and others have flat, button-like centers instead. Blooms range from postage-stamp to softball size.

Daffodils aren’t just yellow anymore, either. You can choose from white, orange, red, and pink and all the shades and combinations in between. One of my favorites, Apricot Whirl, has fragrant, salmon-pink and white flowers that don’t even look like daffodils. Another favorite, Sabine Hay, has soft amber petals around a bright red-orange center.

If you want sweetly scented blooms, choose varieties in the jonquil or tazetta divisions. They usually have several fragrant flowers per stems. Award-winning Quail and Martinette are among the best in this group. A handful will perfume a room.

No matter where you live, daffodils have a place in your garden. They’ll grow in the ground almost anywhere in the country as long they have well-drained soil and a few hours of full sun. Most varieties need cold winter soil, but many thrive without it and grow well throughout the southern states.

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3 Responses to Daffodils for Every Garden

  1. Anonymous says:

    My biggest problem with daffodils is what to do with them when the bloom has faded. I have them interplanted with perennials and have annual seeds started in some of the gaps between bulbs as well. I know I can’t cut them back or fold them in half and tie them down until they have some time to do their thing for next year’s blooms, but I also can’t stomp them down on the ground (or my annual seeds won’t germinate since they won’t get any sun).

    I was thinking of seeing if I can find some sort of gadget that can tie them standing upright (where you can grab the leaves with one hand and use the gadget to tie the leaves together with the other hand). I know they make these gadgets with plastic ties, but I’d prefer something with biodegradable ties that could go straight in the compost bin with the faded leaves (or, if they fall off, will decompose in my planting bed). Has anyone seen such a gadget? It would sure be quicker than trying to hand-tie each one and suffering the consequences with my herniated disc in my lower back.

  2. Daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs need their foliage to produce flowers for the following year. It’s important to allow the foliage to get as much sun exposure as possible until it naturally goes dormant. Bundling, folding, or cutting off the leaves decreases the amount of food the plants can make, which slows the growth of the bulbs and reduces flowering. It’s not tidy, but letting the leaves flop on the ground is best for the plants.

    I hide the ripening foliage with leafy perennials, such as daylilies and hosta. We have an article about how to do this on our web site at http://www.gardeners.com/Daylilies-and-Daffodils/daydaffsLp,default,pg.html.

    –Ann Whitman

  3. i like it nice garden of daffodils,i also like to have daffodils on my garden.


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