Test your garden knowledge
A host of golden daffodils
Test your knowledge by answering true or false to the following questions. 1. A daffodil is a kind of narcissus. 2. The plural of narcissus is narcissus, not narcissi or narcissuses. 3. Daffodils multiply by seed. 4. Daffodils don’t like clay soil. 5. Daffodils come only in yellow, white and variations of the two. 6. Poeticus daffodils always have white outer petals. 7. If your daffodils don’t bloom, give them plenty of nitrogen.
8. If daffodil leaves emerge with fine yellow streaks on them, dig them up and throw them away.
9. It is a Welsh tradition to bring daffodils into the house on St. David’s day.
10. Squirrels don’t eat daffodil bulbs.
1. False—or at least, not exactly. The American Daffodil Society contends that all daffodils are narcissus and all narcissus are daffodils. The group prefers “daffodil” for all but scientific use. 2. False. All three variations are correct in different English-speaking regions.
3. True, they can. Daffodils will increase in your garden from year to year, mostly through bulb division. The flowers can set seed, though it is less common because they don’t always get pollinated. As well, when you do get seeds they take a good five years to produce a blooming plant.
4. True. Like most bulbs, daffodils need good drainage or they may rot in the ground. If you have heavy clay soil, don’t despair; when you plant daffs, dig deep and amend the soil with compost or manure and peat moss. It’s a good idea to lift the bulbs every couple of years and loosen up the soil under and around them.
5. False. There are many partially and wholly pink varieties of daffodil, as well as several with green markings. As well, some varieties have markings verging on red.
6. True. In fact, very white outer petals are a defining characteristic of the poeticus daffodils.
7. False. Nitrogen is the fertilizer component that aids strong foliage growth; high nitrogen diverts plant energy away from bloom formation.
8. True. Fine yellow streaks that run the length of the leaves are there as the foliage emerges indicate a virus called yellow streak. Yellow streak is incurable and it is contagious to other daffodils. Get rid of the infected plant and bulb before the disease spreads. 9. False. The daffodil is a Welsh national emblem, and wearing a daffodil on St. David’s day is a Welsh tradition, but bringing daffs into the house is considered an affront to spring by strict Welsh traditionalists. 10. True. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous to most creatures. Juvenile squirrels and the like will dig them up sometimes, though.
8-10 correct: You can be rightfully narcissistic.
5-7 correct: Quite deft with daffs.
Fewer than 5 correct: Very daffy, not so dilly.