Daffodils will usually be the first flowers to bloom in your garden: the canary-yellow petals and center coronas that resemble trumpets will pop out announcing that it's springtime. And as a gardener you will want to do everything possible to ensure your daffodils fulfill all their potential. Below are a few tips that will keep your daffodils looking their best throughout spring and into the summer.
After they have bloomed, give your daffodils a boost with a low nitrogen brand of fertilizer, usually a 5-10-10 type will give you the best results. And keep watering them for about two or three weeks because they will need quite a bit of moisture during this time. But remember that well-draining soil is a must. Always make sure your daffodils are never setting in pools of water. And as soon as the soil surface feels dry, you should water them until the soil becomes moderately moist.
Daffodils prefer "bright-diffused" or indirect sun light. Bright-diffused means there is a lot of light but the daffodils are not setting directly in it.
Have you ever wanted to see wave after wave of beautiful daffodils blooming from early to late spring? It's simple. All you have to do is plant different daffodil varieties or cultivars that have varying blooming periods. Plant one type that is known to bloom early in the season, along with a mid-season bloomer and a late-season bloomer. If you include daffodils of differing heights, they will be more easily visible and produce a nice effect. For example, Jack Snipes will bloom early in the spring, while Ice Follies will bloom in mid-season and Barrett Browning daffodils will bloom later on. By planting these three types you are guaranteed wave after wave of daffodils filling up your yard.
Animals in the rodent family (squirrels, chipmunks, etc.) will not eat daffodil bulbs because they hate the taste of the sap inside. But remember that daffodil bulbs are highly poisonous to humans, so be sure to keep all children away from them. The fragrance from the bulbs, however, is quite pleasant and will not harm humans.
Do you have a large piece of land that you would like to fill up with daffodils? Perhaps you would like to grow an entire field of them. A large space packed with daffodils can look amazing. (Originally, they were found growing in large, heavily wooded areas in Europe.) A few daffodil fields have been known to bloom constantly for 40 to 50 years!
When planting a daffodil field, you will probably have to manipulate the soil a little before adding the bulbs, since most natural soil types in large areas are not ideal for growing daffodils. To prepare the soil for one bulb, use a spade to remove a patch of earth. Then add some sand at the bottom of the hole and then a little peat moss with about a tablespoon full of low-nitrogen brand fertilizer. Put this mixture at the bottom of the hole, but don't fill it up all the way - only to the level where your bulb will be planted. Next, put a handful of sand on top of the fertilizer mix. Then put in a single bulb. Make sure the bulb is not touching the fertilizer. Then add more sand and place sod on the very top and you are finished. The fertilized soil below is for the roots of the bulb to go into so they will become strong and continue blooming for years.
June is the best time to dig up your bulbs for storage. You can put them in an onion sack or use panty hose. After that, find a cool place with a lot of flowing air and hang them up. The cool air will keep the bulbs from rotting. You should store your daffodil bulbs all the way through November. But digging up bulbs is only necessary if your area gets a lot of moisture during the summer. If it is dry enough, you can keep the bulbs in the ground. But always be careful about moisture, since heat plus a lot of rain will equal the rotting of your bulbs.
When it comes time to deadhead, you should wait for the foliage to die all the way before cutting it off. This will allow the nutrients to go down into the bulbs and be stored for valuable food energy next season. You can cut the plant off close to the ground, or you can remove only the leaves by simply twisting them off.
Backing up for a minute, when planting the bulbs in your garden (this is probably a tip for the future) and putting them into the holes, it is a good idea to give them a little superphosphate, which will add plenty of phosphorous to the bulbs. But keep in mind that superphosphate will drive earthworms away.
Now I'll close this article with two more facts about daffodils:
They belong to the Narcissus genus. Narcissus is a botanical moniker which came from the word 'narke' - a Greek word meaning narcotic. Daffodils having a nice fragrance that people originally thought was capable of producing a death-like slumber.
Most daffodils are yellow, but others can be gold or white in color, while a few have orange around the rims of the center trumpet-like coronas. If you are getting tired of regular yellow daffodils, you may want to keep an eye out for some of the more exotic looking cultivars.