Daffodils (Narcissus) may be the most popular of all spring-blooming bulbs. The classic yellow daffodil, with its big ruffled trumpet, has been welcoming spring for generations. These easy and reliable spring-flowering bulbs multiply quickly and return to bloom year after year. They are not fussy about soil, will grow in sun or shade and are not bothered by deer and other critters.
Though yellow is by far the most common color for daffodils, the flowers also come in white, cream, orange and even pink. There are many different flower styles, including trumpets, doubles, split-cups, short cups, and miniatures. Planting an assortment of different types of daffodils will give you more than a month of carefree color every spring. To watch our video about How to Plant Daffodils, click HERE.
STEP 1 - KNOW
START WITH A BETTER BULB
It’s easy to see the difference in QUALITY when you compare two narcissus bulbs side by side. As with most flower bulbs, narcissus are graded by size, measured in centimeters around the circumference of the bulb. Larger, 14/16cm daffodil bulbs (shown below) will produce more stems and more flowers than smaller, 12/14cm bulbs.
STEP 2 - PLAN
PLAN FOR SUCCESS
Daffodils are very easy to grow. Here’s how to get your bulbs off to a great start.
SHADE AND SUN: Daffodils are remarkably versatile because they will grow in sun, part sun and shade.
ZONE: Daffodils are winter hardy in zones 3-8 and will return to bloom again each year. Reference the USDA Hardiness zone map here.
WHEN TO PLANT: Daffodils should be planted in mid to late fall, anytime before the ground freezes.
WHERE TO PLANT DAFFODILS
ENTRYWAYS & BORDERS: Planting daffodils in the front of your house will create a wave of welcoming spring color for years to come. For a long-lasting display, plant varieties with different bloom times. Mixing a number of different flower shapes and colors creates a more informal look.
PERENNIAL GARDENS: Daffodils are in bloom before most perennials begin to stir. A few clumps of daffodils will tide you over with a welcome splash of color.
CONTAINERS & WINDOW BOXES: Daffodils are traditionally planted in yards and gardens, but they also grow well in containers. This makes it easy to add instant spring charm to porches and patios. In zones 6 and colder, pots will need winter protection from extreme cold.
CUT FLOWER GARDENS: Celebrate the color and fragrance of spring with big bouquets of daffodils for your home and to share with friends and family. Planting daffodils in a cutting garden will ensure you always have plenty of blossoms to cut.
NATURALIZING: Daffodils are ideal for naturalizing in meadows, wooded areas or near ponds and streams. They come back reliably every year and are naturally resistant to deer.
STEP 3 - GROW
PLANTING IS AS EASY 1-2-3
1. Dig a hole 6" deep.
2. Set the daffodil bulb into the soil pointy side up.
3. Cover the bulb with soil and water if the soil is dry.
Daffodils look best when they are planted in informal groups rather than in straight rows. Clusters of bulbs in a triangular, oval or rectangular shape will have a fuller, more natural look.
Daffodils prefer well-drained soil, though they will grow almost anywhere.
To enjoy the daffodil season for as long as possible, select varieties that bloom at different times (early, mid and late season). For naturalized plantings, an assortment of different varieties will ensure new flowers are opening as others are fading.
STEP 4 - AFTERCARE
CARING FOR DAFFODILS AFTER THEY BLOOM
Daffodils are hardy in zones 3-8 and do not need to be dug out at the end of the season. Once planted, the bulbs will bloom again every spring, usually in increasing numbers. Follow these simple tips to enjoy beautiful daffodils for many years to come.
1) After the flowers have wilted, you can remove the spent blooms. This will keep the plants looking neat, but isn't essential.
2) Most importantly, allow the foliage to continue growing until it dies back naturally. Daffodil bulbs use their foliage to build up food storage reserves so they can produce more flowers the following year.
3) Once the foliage has withered and all traces of green are gone, it can be cut down to soil level or can usually be removed with a gentle tug.