Daffodils are the most carefree of all spring flowers. They grow almost anywhere and aren’t bothered by deer or rodents. Best of all, daffodils multiply quickly. They return every spring in greater numbers and will bloom reliably for generations.
Daffodil flowers come in many different shapes, sizes and color combinations. The American Daffodil Society classifies daffodils by their flower shape, and there are officially 13 different classifications. You don't need to know which daffodil belongs to which classification – unless you’re a botanist or daffodil collector. But seeing the full range of possibilities are bound to inspire you. There's always room for more daffodils!
Trumpet or Long Cup
Trumpet daffodils have prominent cups that are as long or longer than the petals. The flowers are large overall and the plants are vigorous, which makes them an excellent choice for naturalizing. One flower per stem. Trumpet daffodils grow best in cold climates (zones 3-7). Examples include Dutch Master (shown above), Mount Hood, Yellow River, Rijnveld's Early Sensation and Goblet.
Large cup daffodils have big flowers with prominent cups. The cups can be trumpet-like, bowl-shaped or flat and may have smooth or heavily ruffled edges. Cups are often a different color from the petals. One flower per stem. These daffodils are strong growers and good naturalizers. Examples include Ice Follies, Professor Einstein, Orange Progress, Red Devon (shown above on left) and Pink Pride.
These charming small cup daffodils have short cups that are less than 1/3 the length of the petals. They produce one blossom per stem. Most varieties bloom late in the season and have a nice fragrance. Barrett Browning is a popular small cup daffodil.
These showy daffodils feature multiple layers of outer petals and instead of cups, the center of the flower is a bouquet of petals. With many double daffodils, it can be difficult to distinguish the cups from the petals. Usually one, but sometimes two flowers per stem. Great for cutting and often fragrant. Popular double daffodils include Delnashaugh, Golden Ducat, White Lion, La Torche, Sherbourne, Double Smiles, Lingerie (shown above) and Tahiti.
Triandrus daffodils usually have two or more flowers per stem. The blossoms are typically downward-facing with reflexed (pulled back) petals. Many varieties are fragrant. With smaller flowers and shorter stems than standard daffodils, they're a good choice for perennial gardens and containers. All varieties are shade tolerant and good naturalizers. Thalia (shown above) is an outstanding example of this type of daffodil.
These daffodils have are easy to recognize. Most varieties have reflexed petals (pulled back) and small, narrow cups. Cyclamineus daffodils are moisture and shade tolerant and good for forcing. They bloom in early spring and are shorter than most other daffodils. Examples include Jetfire (shown above), Tete a Tete, and Baby Boomer.
Jonquilla daffodils have petite flowers with small cups. There are usually 2 to 6 flowers per stem. All varieties are wonderfully fragrant. The foliage is narrower than usual and more grass-like. Good for naturalizing and for forcing, and the best type of daffodils for southern gardens. Examples are Golden Echo (shown above) Lemon Sailboat, Martinette, Pipit, Pueblo, Silver Smiles, and Beautiful Eyes.
These warm climate daffodils are less hardy than other types. The flowers have short cups and an intense, sweet fragrance.
They're produced in clusters, with 3 to 20 dainty flowers per stem. Where hardy, these bulbs are drought tolerant and good perennializers. They are ideal for southern gardens and good for forcing. Daffodils Cragford (shown above) and Falconet areTazetta daffodils, as are paperwhites such as Ziva.
The flowers of poeticus daffodils bloom toward the end of the daffodil season. Big white petals surround small, flattened cups that are ringed with green, orange or red. All varieties are excellent perennializers. The flowers have long stems and their wonderful fragrance makes them popular cut flowers. Look for varieties such as Pheasant Eye and Actaea.
The cups of these non-traditional daffodils are split into segments and pressed back against the petals. Most varieties of split corona daffodils are bicolors, with large flowers on strong stems. They are beautiful in a vase. Bloom time is mid to late spring. Examples include Love Call, Lemon Beauty, and Cassata.
Though not an official division, miniature daffodils are varieties with small flowers that are only about an inch in diameter, on 6 to 10" stems. Miniature daffodils produce less greenery than full-size daffodils, which makes them ideal for perennial gardens, rock gardens and planting beneath shrubs. Examples include varieties such as Tete a Tete and Baby Boomer.