Daffodils (Narcissus) are assigned to the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae) by botanists. The genus includes 30 – 40 species, but breeding, which began in Europe in the 18th century, resulted in numerous varieties, so that around 24,000 cultivated forms (hybrids) can be assumed.
These are divided into eleven groups, depending on their initial types.
For example, a distinction is made between trumpet-narcissus, tazette and cyclamen-narcissus.
The natural range of the wild species is in southwest Europe and northwest Africa with a main focus on the Iberian Peninsula. Only a few species are originally found in the coastal area of the eastern Mediterranean.
Autumn is the right season to plant flower bulbs so that early bloomers transform your garden into a colorful plant paradise right at the start of spring. Early bloomers wake up shortly after winter with the first warm rays of sunshine and bloom well into spring.
Basically, onions can be planted from September until the first frosty nights . Depending on the region, you can plant flower bulbs until November.
The bulb plants among the early bloomers include:
- Crocuses come into the earth from September .
- It is best to plant daffodils from September to October .
- You can plant tulips from September to November .
- Snowdrops should also be planted in September and not too late in autumn.
- It is best to plant hyacinths from the end of October .
In this article, we would be focusing on Daffodil bulbs, and the growing process.
Origin of Daffodils
While most species have only a very small distribution area, the distribution area of the wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) extends over the whole of Western Europe.
Their natural locations are light forests, meadows and stony mountain slopes. In Germany it can be found in the Eifel National Park, among other places. The French town of Gérardmer in the Vosges is also known for its daffodil meadows.
Daffodils are perennial, herbaceous plants with a bulb as a perennial organ. Usually three to four basal, linear to belt-shaped leaves sprout from the onions.
When fully grown, these usually tower above the flower stem. The height is between five and 60 centimeters. The leafless inflorescence includes a single to 20 flowers, depending on the type and variety.
They are each protected by a dry husk. The hermaphrodite single flower consists of two different parts, the main crown with 6 individual petals and the secondary crown, which can be bowl-shaped, cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped and of different lengths. In many species, the flowers give off a scent. The flower color ranges from white to yellow to orange.
The flowering time of the species and varieties cultivated in the garden is from February to May. However, there are also a few wild species that bloom in autumn and winter.
After fertilization, a three-chamber capsule fruit, which contains numerous seeds, develops from the flower. After the seeds ripen, all parts of the plant above the ground, i.e. the leaves and the flower stem, die and of the daffodil only the bulb survives.
Daffodils contain various alkaloids that are poisonous. The sap that escapes when you cut off the flower stalks, for example, can cause skin irritation.
Use of Daffodils
Daffodils are popular spring flowers that are widespread in gardens . They can be placed in a sunny bed with any normal garden soil, as well as in pots and boxes, and they are also offered as indoor plants when the winter comes to an end.
In the bed, they can be combined with other onion plants such as crocuses (Crocus), snowdrops (Galanthus), grape hyacinths (Muscari) and tulips (Tulipa).
Perennials that bloom early, such as lungwort (Pulmonaria) and spring roses (Helleborus) can also be used as bedding partners.
In addition, many varieties of daffodils can be planted in lawns and meadows, where they then grow wild – that is, they continue to spread via daughter bulbs and form larger populations over the years.
The bulbs of the daffodils are preferably planted in September. But it is basically possible to plant in winter as long as the soil is frost-free.
Experience has shown that bulbs that are planted early and thus well-rooted survive severe periods of frost better than those that were planted late. The planting depth for the bulbs is usually 10 – 15 centimeters.
In some botanical species, where the bulbs are quite small, the planting depth should be correspondingly shallower.
As a rule of thumb, the planting hole should be twice as deep as the height of the daffodil bulb. The planting distance is 12 – 15 centimeters. In heavy soils, you should mix some sand into the soil, but daffodils are not as sensitive to moisture as most other bulbous flowers. They also take root faster in autumn if you water the bulbs thoroughly after planting.
How to Care for Daffodils
Daffodils make few demands on the location and are accordingly easy to care for. However, the soil should not be too dry for a long period of time.
After flowering, the flower stems are removed before the seed capsules form, as this would only weaken the plants unnecessarily and shorten their lifespan. The leaves, on the other hand, stay there until they turn yellow. In this way, the nutrients contained in the leaves can be stored back in the onion.
If you have planted daffodils in the lawn or in a meadow, you should wait until the daffodil leaves have wilted before mowing the area.
In early spring, when the leaves of the plants are sprouting, daffodils can be sprinkled with a ripe compost supply (three to five liters per square meter). It is also advisable to give a low-phosphate, quick-dissolving complete fertilizer directly after flowering.
If daffodils become blooming after a few years, the bulbs are removed from the ground after they have turned yellow, the daughter bulbs that have grown on the mother onion are carefully separated off and these are replanted .
Multiplication (Propagating Daffodils)
Daffodils can be propagated by sowing them and by daughter bulbs.
Since the development of the seeds can weaken the mother plant and it takes up to seven years for the seedlings to develop flowers for the first time, this form of propagation is only relevant for breeders. As already described under care tips, it is easier to divide the daffodil bulbs and re-insert them .
Diseases and Pests of Daffodils
A typical pest is the daffodil fly, which belongs to the hoverflies. It lays its eggs on the plant, the larvae migrate into the earth and then eat their way inside the onion.
There they feed on the already created leaves and the flower stem. The eaten onion rots. The treatment of infested onions is difficult and only then if the infestation is recognized early in summer.
Experts recommend a so-called warm water treatment: The onions are taken out of the ground and immersed in 44 degrees Celsius hot water for two hours.
The larvae then die. The onions are then left to dry thoroughly and stored in a dark and cool place until autumn.
Then they are planted back in the bed.
Eating damage by voles, which are always a problem with bulb flower plantings, are of no importance for daffodils, as the rodents disdain the poisonous bulbs.
One disease that daffodils occasionally suffer from is bulbous basal rot. It is caused by a fungus (Fusarium). Onions infected by the fungus rot and their leaves turn yellow prematurely.
It’s important to remove the diseased onions as quickly as possible and dispose of them in the household waste. Since the fungus persists in the ground for years, you should not plant any new daffodils in this place for around five years .
Steps to growing daffodils
1). Buy the right flower bulbs
- When buying flower bulbs, make sure they are dry, firm, and have smooth skin. This indicates that they are still fresh.
- If the same type of plant offers bulbs of different sizes, you should choose the larger ones. They are usually a little more expensive, but they also have greater vigor and flowering power. They form stronger plants and larger flowers.
- Organic flower bulbs are grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides and are therefore the first choice for your garden.
2). Choose the right floor
- The soil should be well drained so that no waterlogging can build up. If you are planting in a pot, you should use stones or broken pieces to create drainage.
- If you add sand or compost to solid earth , it becomes looser and more permeable to water.
3). Plant bulbs correctly
- Place the onion in the soil with the tip up.
- Note the following rule of thumb: The bulbs should be buried twice as deep as they are tall.
4). Protect bulbs from voles
- Voles love bulbs. If you know you have voles in your garden, you’d better plant your bulbs in pots and planters to protect them from the voracious rodents.
- But be careful not to put the pots in the warm over the winter.
5). Water the bulbs and protect them from frost
- The onions should neither dry out nor become too moist in the soil. It is enough to water them about every two weeks.
- If you have planted onions outdoors, you should protect the bed from frost. For example, by covering it with sticks or leaves.
Daffodils would always add a colorful splash to any garden. In this article, we have discussed how to grow daffodils, and how late it could be planted.