The first thing you should know about daffodils is that it’s smart to choose the ones you want while they’re still in bloom in the spring. If you miss the boat this spring, your best bet is to read carefully the descriptions in next fall’s seed and nursery catalogs.
The second thing you need to know is something about the various classes of daffodils you’ll find listed or on display. Daffodil is the English name for the narcissus. There are many flower shapes and combinations and many variations of the two main daffodil colors-white and yellow. A few new, and still expensive, introductions show light salmon-pink tints in their petals, and many have red in their cups.
Daffodil beauty cannot be gauged by price. Price is determined by the amount of stock available to satisfy the demand. Some varieties produce new bulbs more prolifically than others and so move more rapidly from collector’s items to the general catalog lists.
Each daffodil flower has a central part known as an eye, crown, or trumpet, and an outer part called the perianth, which consists of six parts. It is the variation in the proportions and colors of these principal parts that determine the classes.
Buy what you can. Order from a reputable dealer and specify late-summer delivery. Plant your bulbs as soon as received. Spring-flowering bulbs bloom so early in the season they don’t have time to develop their root structure first. In order to give the roots time to develop fully before winter they should be planted in the early fall, preferably six weeks before freezing weather, but you can plant them safely even as late as December.
Spade the soil and thoroughly pulverize it. Lumpy soil may result in uneven height of stems and blooms. Avoid poorly drained spots. Bulbs will rot if they are not freely drained. Mix balanced plant food thoroughly and deeply into the soil.
A spring application of balanced plant food (1 tablespoon to a gallon of water) given just as buds are forming will increase the size of the flowers. Be sure solution is washed into soil by thorough watering. Leave them alone until the clumps are really crowded. Or you can lift them, every second or third year, after blooming time, divide the bulbs, and replant. Daffodil bulbs are winter hardy. You can start with just a few expensive ones; then when you dig and divide your original clumps, the small bulbs will soon grow to flowering size.
Spring flowering bulbs such as Alliums, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Scilla and the ever popular Tulip are available NOW. Backyardgardener provides the highest quality bulb in the world. Our vendors ship to the USA and UK, so don’t be shy if you think the Atlantic Ocean will hinder your order.