Narcissus "Thalia"

Several years ago I bought a mix of one hundred unnamed daffodil bulbs. I thought I’d like them all mixed together, but once they bloomed, I hated it. The bulbs spread in wide drifts along the side yard, but they bloomed with miniatures next to tall large trumpet, next to small cup or split cup blossoms, and with pink, white, yellow and orange bicolors next to solid colors, all blooming in a chaotic mess. I didn’t like the look, preferring my large yellow trumpet daffodils together, and my miniatures grouped where I can see them up close. So I dug up the daffodil bulbs while they were still blooming. This is probably the worst thing you can do to these perennial favorites

Daffodils are very hardy bulbs, but moving them while in bloom disturbs the growth cycle and affects the bulbs ability to store energy for future flowers. Often they do not bloom the next year. If they must be moved before the foliage dies naturally, it is best to dig them up with as much soil around the bulb’s roots as possible, and replant them immediately so the leaves can continue to store food in the bulb. The flower heads must all be cut off leaving the green stalk. Often they do not bloom the following year.
I wasn’t looking forward to a spring with just foliage, but my daffodils surprised me and bloomed anyway, which is why I love these flowers. Now, several years later, they have filled in and are ready to be dug up again and spread out.

As mentioned, it is best to let the foliage linger on as long as possible. Many gardeners find this the worst drawback of bulb plants. The foliage gets gangly and unsightly and often lasts through July. The best solution is to grow a companion plant that’s will camouflage the leaves. Even this isn’t always a successful solution, so if you must cut the green foliage, wait as long as you can, giving the plants at least six weeks to mature. Deadheading or removing spent blossoms to conserve bulb strength isn’t necessary on most daffodil hybrids, even if a seedpod develops, it is usually empty.

Daffodils need plenty of water from the moment they first send up shoots until the foliage dies down, which isn’t usually a problem. Water is unnecessary while the bulbs are dormant during the summer, and fall soil moisture helps the bulb set roots to anchor it through the winter.

Fertilize you daffodils with a low nitrogen slow-release formula. Some gardeners think a sprinkling of Epson salts on the daffodil beds in either early spring or late fall helps make the red and pink colors stronger. I haven’t tried it.

There are two more great facts about Daffodils. First, they belong to the Amaryllis family and their bulbs contain an alkaloid poisonous to most pests, so they don’t succumb to the ravages of deer and mice. The second is hybridizers have created an amazing array of flower types and sizes to please anyone’s taste.

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