2017's bulb of the year: The daf­fodil

2017's bulb of the year

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Contents - Ar­ti­cle pro­vided by The Na­tional Gar­den Bureau. Writ­ten by Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Daf­fodils, a spring-bloom­ing, self-prop­a­gat­ing peren­nial, orig­i­nated in Europe, pre­dom­i­nantly Spain, Portugal, France and Aus­tria, where they are na­tive to mead­ows and woody forests. Some nat­u­ral­ized in Great Bri­tain where they were in­tro­duced be­tween 1400-1600 dur­ing the Ro­man oc­cu­pa­tion. From there, nar­cis­sus bulbs were in­tro­duced to North America by pi­o­neer women who made the long ocean voy­age to America to build a new fu­ture. Given lim­ited space for bring­ing per­sonal goods, they sewed dor­mant daf­fodil bulbs into the hems of their skirts to plant at their new homes to re­mind them of the gar­dens they left be­hind. The rem­nant an­ces­tors of those bulbs per­sist today in older gar­dens in the eastern half of the US, mak­ing them a part of our her­itage for over 300 years!

The of­fi­cial botan­i­cal genus name for Daf­fodils is nar­cis­sus, which comes from the Greek word ‘Narkissos’ and its base word ‘Narke’, mean­ing sleep or numb­ness, at­trib­uted to the seda­tive ef­fect from the al­ka­loids in its plants. The plant fam­ily is Amaryl­l­i­daceae, mean­ing all mem­bers are poi­sonous, which is per­fect for gardeners be­cause that makes them crit­ter proof. Daf­fodil is ac­tu­ally its com­mon name, not a sci­en­tific or Latin name.

Gar­den how-to’s

Un­like many spring flow­er­ing bulbs, daf­fodils are not eaten by mice, voles, squir­rels, rab­bits or deer be­cause they are poi­sonous and dis­taste­ful, which helps to keep pets and chil­dren from in­gest­ing them. Daf­fodils are great for pick­ing and ar­rang­ing in cut flower bou­quets, and they are also per­fect for con­tainer plant­ing and forc­ing.

The ideal daf­fodil plant­ing time de­pends on where you live. In zones 3-5, you should plant in Septem­bernovem­ber.

The Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety di­vides nar­cis­sus into the fol­low­ing di­vi­sions based on type, size, or num­ber of flow­ers.

Divi­sion 1 – Trum­pet (One flower to a stem; the cup is as long as or longer than the petals.), e.g. N. ‘Bravoure’.

Divi­sion 2 – Large Cup (One flower to a stem; the cup is more than onethird but less than equal to the length of the petals.), e.g. N. ‘Ac­cent’.

Divi­sion 3 – Small Cup (One flower to a stem; the cup is not more than one-third the length of the petals.), e.g. N. ‘Bar­rett Brown­ing’.

Divi­sion 4 – Dou­ble (One or more flow­ers to a stem, with dou­bling of the petals or the cup or both.), e.g. N. ‘Tahiti’.

Divi­sion 5 – Trian­drus (Usu­ally two or more nod­ding flow­ers to a stem; petals are re­flexed.), e.g. N. ‘Thalia’.

Divi­sion 6 – Cy­clamineus (One flower to a stem; petals are sig­nif­i­cantly re­flexed; flower at an acute an­gle to the stem, with a very short neck.), e.g. N. ‘Rap­ture’.

Divi­sion 7 – Jon­quilla (One to five flow­ers to a stem; petals spread­ing or re­flexed; flow­ers usu­ally fra­grant; fo­liage is of­ten reed-like or at least very nar­row and dark green.), e.g. N. ‘Golden Echo’.

Divi­sion 8 – Tazetta (Usu­ally three to twenty flow­ers to a stout stem; leaves broad; petals spread­ing, not re­flexed; flow­ers fra­grant.), e.g. N. ‘Fal­conet’.

Divi­sion 9 – Poeti­cus (Usu­ally one flower to a stem; petals pure white; cup is usu­ally disc-shaped, with a green or yel­low cen­ter and red rim; flow­ers fra­grant.), e.g. N. ‘Ac­taea’.

Divi­sion 10 – Split Corona (Cup split – usu­ally for more than half its length.), e.g. N. ‘Tri­par­tite’.

Divi­sion 11 – Other (Daf­fodil cul­ti­vars which do not fit the def­i­ni­tion of any other divi­sion.), e.g. N. ‘Tete-atete’ (minia­ture).

Divi­sion 12 – Botan­i­cal (All species and wild or re­put­edly wild vari­ants and hy­brids.), e.g. N. ob­val­laris.

Plant­ing In­struc­tions:

Daf­fodil bulbs should be spaced three times the width of the bulb apart, or four to six inches on cen­ter, de­pend­ing on the size of the bulb. As for plant­ing depth, daf­fodils should be planted three times the height of the bulb deep, or four to six inches to the bot­tom of the hole, de­pend­ing on the size of the bulb. Plant­ing in full sun is prefer­able, but par­tial shade (at least a half day) is ac­cept­able.

Dig­ging and di­vid­ing is nor­mally not nec­es­sary if the bulbs are planted in fer­tile soil, have suf­fi­cient wa­ter dur­ing the spring grow­ing sea­son, and if they get plenty of sun­light for six weeks after the blooms are fin­ished. How­ever, if you do want to di­vide them, do so as soon as the fo­liage be­gins to turn yel­low. Dig un­der the whole clump with a spad­ing fork, shake off the loose soil and care­fully sep­a­rate the roots of the large bulbs from one another. If daugh­ter bulbs are at­tached to the mother bulbs, it’s best to leave them to­gether - they will sep­a­rate un­der­ground when the time is right. The best choice is to re­plant bulbs im­me­di­ately after dig­ging, how­ever, if stor­ing is nec­es­sary, store dry in mesh bags with plenty of air cir­cu­la­tion Re­mov­ing spent flow­ers is nice for aes­thetic rea­sons, but be­cause most hy­brid daf­fodils have very lit­tle nec­tar and have heavy, dis­taste­ful pollen which is sel­dom spread by the wind or in­sects, few are accidently pol­li­nated. There­fore, few pro­duce real seeds which would drain the bulb’s en­ergy needed to pro­duce next year’s bloom... so it’s not re­ally nec­es­sary to dead­head daf­fodils.

Nar­cis­sus 'Golden Bells'.

Nar­cis­sus 'Tahiti'.

Nar­cis­sus 'Dutch­mas­ter Ice-fol­lies'.

Nar­cis­sus 'Mary Gay Lirette'.

Small cup Daf­fodil.

Nar­cis­sus 'Moon­light Sen­sa­tion'.

Dig a trench for mass plant­ings.

A daf­fodil bulb ready to plant.

Daf­fodils bulbs.

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