Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) is native to northern Europe and grown in temperate climates around the world. Daffodils come a few colors – white, several shades of yellow, orange and even pink. They also grow to different heights ranging from 2 to 18 inches (5 to 45 cm).
Why Grow Daffodils
Daffodils are a delight at the end of a harsh, cold winter. The vibrant trumpet-like flowers are amongst the first to bloom at the end of winter, providing a cheerful outlook. They last quite long in flower jars as well.
Once planted, they require very little attention or maintenance and will spring up from the ground to bloom year after year.
Daffodils are Perennials
Daffodil plants are classified as perennials which grow from bulbs in one season but will come up again year after year. They are best planted in fall/autumn and will bloom in late winter or early spring.
Common Problems with Daffodils
Daffodil ‘blindness’ – This happens when they produce a healthy crop of foliage but fail to flower. Causes include poor soil, overcrowding and shade. This can be rectified by digging up and replanting in better conditions but it may be a couple of years before daffodils flower again.
If the daffodils had been flowering in previous years, but did not flower in the current year, it is likely that the bulbs have multiplied and are now overcrowded in one spot. They will have to be dug up, divided and re-planted spaced further apart.
If the daffodils have not flowered before, it’s likely that the bulbs were planted too late, were too small, or did not get enough sunshine.
Common Mistakes with Daffodils
1. Cutting back foliage too early – Don’t be too quick to cut back foliage when flowering is over. Leaves should be left on the stalk until they have turned yellow. Nutrients are produced and sent to the bulb for several weeks after the flower has died, in readiness to become dormant until the next year.
2. Planting too early or too late – Planting in Fall/Autumn is recommended, when temperatures dip to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degress Celsius).
3. Planting bulbs upside-down – Bulbs should be planted with the pointy side up.
4. Planting at the wrong depth – If planted too shallow, dividing bulbs and ‘flopping’ stems may result. If planted too deep, daffodils might never emerge. A depth of 6 inches (15 cm) is ideal.
Care Requirements & Guide
Watering: Daffodils require regular watering when they are growing and blooming.
Light: They prefer full sun while blooming and partial shade afterward. At least 6 hours of sun per day is ideal.
Temperature: They prefer temperate climates.
Soil: They prefer soil that is well drained.
Fertilizer: They require low-nitrogen fertilizers as too much nitrogen can promote foliage growth. Daffodils prefer high potash fertilizer.
Propagation: They can be grown from seed if you have time and patience. Instead of removing dead flowers, allow the seed heads to develop and then harvest the seeds to be planted later on. This is a slow process as it will take a few years before the daffodils flower. The faster way is to divide established daffodil clumps in autumn. Simply dig up the clumps carefully to avoid damaging the bulbs, peel the bulbs apart and re-plant them straight away.
Daffodils are toxic as they have toxic sap which keeps insects and animals at a safe distance. They may also kill other flowers if kept with them in a vase.