Daffodils – Narcissus: Trumpeting the Arrival of Spring

daffodil

Daffodils in bloom announce the official start of spring and perhaps this is the reason they are so well known and adored. Their prominent centers are shaped just like a trumpet placed there to herald the return of spring. Their natural golden-yellow colors, the same colors as the sun, seem to invite sunshine to a world still dark and drab with winter. Also known as narcissus, these flowers are some of the easiest for a beginning gardener to grow. daffodil

There are plenty of other reasons that Daffodils are so popular. They are extremely hardy and return to chase away winter no matter how low the winter temperatures dropped. They are also superior to Tulips, the “other” spring blooming bulbs. Daffodils are long-lived perennial bulbs while the majority of Tulips are one-year-wonders.

daffodils ready to divide
It’s time to dig and divide these daffodil bulbs. They are showing signs of overcrowding.

Easy-care Daffodils are perfect for the beginning gardener

Daffodils are famous for being resistant to hungry marauding deer populations that can hardly wait to get green food in their tummies. They still will not touch Daffodils for they intuit they are poison. Tulips, on the other hand, are chocolate cake and ice cream for hungry deer. Daffodils multiply year after year creating huge long-blooming clumps of pleasing flowers while Tulips grow and bloom on a single stem with a single flower and will soon disappear. An uneven overgrown clump of Daffodils (like the above picture) signals that it’s time to dig and divide their bulbs. These bulbs can be held through summer in a warm dry place and replanted in fall. Finding any daffodil’s bulbs left in the garden over summer may prove difficult, so read on to learn how to take care of them once you dig them up:

daffodil-bulbs

Daffodils grow from a food storage system called a bulb. The mother bulb produces side shoots that develop into smaller bulbs and are easily pulled from the Mother to plant new flowers. The bulb has a basal plate where the roots grow and the green, strappy shoots emerge from the top. It’s important when planting Daffodils in higher elevations to bury them deeper than the directions may say. This is because the extra depth will insulate and discourage the bulbs from an early blooming. Deep planting also slows bulb production and helps keep the mother bulb healthier. A deeper depth also ensures that the blooming flowers stand upright.

Plant Daffodils in drifts or teardrop shapes in the center section of the flower bed. Surround the bulbs with perennials like Daylilies to help hide their spent foliage. And remember, mulch is the secret to superior blooming for it adds organic food and conserves moisture. Daffodils are simple to grow. Purchase their bulbs in fall and in the high mountain elevations plant them deeper than the directions say.

How to care for daffodils once they finish blooming

If you want to divide daffodils, plant summer annuals in the same spot, or simply move them to another location, there are just a few tips that will help preserve the strength of the bulb. Watch the video below for some pointers.

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