Plant easy care daf­fodils now for added spring beau­ti­fi­ca­tion

The Enterprise - - Real Estate - By MELINDA MYERS

Daf­fodils have a cheery pres­ence in the spring gar­den and are a sure­fire way to chase away the win­ter blues. These fall-planted bulbs are also re­li­able peren­ni­als that re­quire no main­te­nance and are not both­ered by deer or other pests. The Na­tional Gar­den Bu­reau has de­clared 2017 the Year of the Daf­fodil, and with the fall plant­ing sea­son right around the cor­ner, now is the time to choose your fa­vorites.

Yel­low trum­pet daf­fodils are clas­sics, but there are many other flower styles and col­ors to choose from. Dou­ble-flow­er­ing types like white and yel­low Lin­gerie and long last­ing le­mon-yel­low Sher­bourne fea­ture mul­ti­ple rows of petals, and some va­ri­eties look more like pe­onies than daf­fodils.

Multi-flow­er­ing va­ri­eties like Beau­ti­ful Eyes, dis­play sev­eral flow­ers on each stem. This va­ri­ety’s white and orange blos­soms have a gar­de­nia-like fra­grance. Minia­ture daf­fodil Baby Boomer has five to ten flow­ers per stem. Af­ter bloom­ing, the grassy fo­liage quickly fades away, al­low­ing nearby peren­ni­als to take cen­ter stage.

Split corona daf­fodils have an un­ex­pected beauty and are lovely cut flow­ers. The cups on these daf­fodils are di­vided into seg­ments that are pressed back against the petals. Nar­cis­sus Cas­sata has a ruf­fled yel­low split cup and white petals. Le­mon Beauty’s shorter split cup is adorned with a yel­low star.

These are just a few of the many choices that are avail­able for gar­dens, con­tain­ers and spring bou­quets. Most daf­fodils are hardy in grow­ing zones 3 to 8. In warmer zones, look for heat tol­er­ant va­ri­eties such as Thalia and Sil­ver Smiles.

Mix daf­fodils into shady gar­dens filled with hosta (plan­tain lily), ferns and other shade-lov­ing peren­ni­als. As the daf­fodil blooms fade, the peren­ni­als will grow, mask the fo­liage and pro­vide beauty through­out the re­main­der of the sea­son.

Plant daf­fodils on a hill­side, wood­land bor­der, be­side a pond or un­der trees and shrubs. Over time, the bulbs will grow and mul­ti­ply with min­i­mal care from you. Choose cul­ti­vars with dif­fer­ent flower styles and bloom times, and plant in drifts to cre­ate an at­trac­tive dis­play.

Can’t de­cide? Con­sider one of the many pre-mixed pack­ages such as Long­field Gar­den’s Fra­grant, Dou­ble, Minia­ture or Multi-flow­er­ing daf­fodil col­lec­tions (www.long­field-gar­ Or, cre­ate your own long-last­ing dis­play by com­bin­ing early, mid and late bloom­ing va­ri­eties.

Get your daf­fodils off to a great start with proper plant­ing. Or­der the bulbs early for best selec­tion, and plant them in mid to late fall, any time be­fore the ground freezes. Dig a hole and po­si­tion the bulbs 6 inches deep with the pointy side up. Cover with soil, ap­ply a low ni­tro­gen slow re­lease fertilizer and wa­ter thor­oughly. Once in the ground, the bulbs can re­main in place for years to come.

Re­serve a few daf­fodil bulbs for your con­tain­ers and win­dow boxes. Pot them up in the fall and make sure they get at least 15 weeks of chill­ing at 40-45 F. In mild cli­mates, the con­tain­ers can be left out­doors. In zones 6 and colder, they should be stored in an un­heated garage where they will be cold, but won’t freeze.

Start now and en­joy a brighter be­gin­ning to next year’s gar­den sea­son. The daf­fodils you plant this fall will de­light you year af­ter year as their care­free blooms an­nounce win­ter’s end and spring’s re­turn.

Melinda Myers has writ­ten numerous books, in­clud­ing “Small Space Gar­den­ing.” She hosts The Great Cour­ses “How to Grow Any­thing” DVD se­ries and is a colum­nist and con­tribut­ing edi­tor for Birds & Blooms mag­a­zine. Myers was com­mis­sioned by Long­field Gar­dens for her ex­per­tise to write this ar­ti­cle. Myers’ web­site is www.melin­damy­


Unique daf­fodil va­ri­eties like Nar­cis­sus Lin­gerie of­fer dou­ble flow­er­ing.

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