The nodding heads of daffodils are guaranteed to lift your spirits in the springtime. Daffodils (narcissus) are easy flowers to grow, and if you choose wisely, you can have different varieties blooming, one after the other, extending your enjoyment. Unlike most spring bulbs, daffodils are not attractive to rodents and deer.
Find locations where the daffodils will get sun, even if only in the winter and spring. Dig down a foot, mix in one part compost to three parts soil, and plant the bulbs pointed end up at a depth that is twice their height. For example, plant a bulb 6 inches deep if it is 3 inches tall. Firm the soil and compost mixture into the planting hole, cover with 2 inches of mulch and water well. Daffodils need water during their growing season but like to dry out in the summer.
Add daffodils to a formal flower bed or in front of foundation landscaping. Consider planting grape hyacinth (muscari) bulbs on top of the daffodil bulbs to provide contrasting color during spring blooming. Plan ahead to cover fading daffodil foliage in late spring by planting daylilies (hemerocallis) in the same hole with daffodils. To naturalize daffodils in woodlands or meadows, scatter bulbs and plant them where they land, using only one daffodil variety in each group.
Guarantee the longest show of daffodils by planning a succession of spring blooming. The earliest daffodil to bloom is Rijnveld's Early Sensation; it is followed by other trumpet daffodils, large-cupped, small-cupped, poeticus, double, jonquilla and tazetta daffodils. Choose your favorite varieties from within these divisions and plant them in clumps of one variety or as a mixture. Note the USDA zone for your area, and plant only the bulbs that are adapted to your regional climate.
Care After Blooming
Deadhead to prevent seed pods forming and sapping the energy of the plant. Resist the impulse to cut off or braid the daffodil leaves. The bulb gains essential nutrients from the leaves for its bloom the following year. Fertilize by sprinkling bulb food on the soil above the bulbs three times a year: in the fall when the bulbs push shoots through the soil, in late winter and in the spring after the flowers die.
Bear in mind that daffodils are poisonous; do not let children or animals come in contact with the bulbs while you are planting. Arrange cut daffodils in vases on their own since their toxic qualities will damage any other kind of cut flower in a mixed arrangement.