Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Daffodils


Daffodils
genus Narcissus
April 28, 2008

Who can resist the cheery bright yellow of daffodils blooming in early spring? These beautiful flowers have graced gardens for centuries. Botanically, daffodils (common name) are are in the family Amaryllidaceae, genus Narcissus. All members of genus Nacissus have a central trumpet (corona) surrounded by a ring of 6 floral leaves (perianth) that forms a tube at the forward edge of the ovary. The outer three segments are the sepals while the inner three are the petals forming the trumpet.

Daffodils are quite cold tolerant and one of the easiest flowers to grow. They grow nicely under deciduous trees as well because they are finished blooming by the time the diciduous leaves are out. They do not grow well under evergreens although some here planted quite close to evergreens are growing fine as seen in the clump pictured above. Daffodils are propagated from seed (sexual - different copies) or bulbs (asexual - exact copies). Naturalize daffodils by planting bulbs under sod or ground cover in locations where the daffodil foliage can be left until died back and the area will remain undisturbed for years. Plant the bulb so the top (pointed end) is twice as deep as the bulb is high. For example a 2" high bulb should be planted 4" deep. Squirrels and rodents will not eat the bulbs because the contain the toxic crystal lycorine but they may dig up the bulbs. Fertilize with 5-10-10 when the leaf tips emerge then with a 0-10-10 or 0-0-50 as they flower. Water well while in bloom and for about 3 weeks after blooming then stop watering. Allow the leaves to die back, removing when they have turned brown. In flower beds, daffodils should be left for 3 to 5 years then moved. Dig them after the foliage has turned yellow. Wash them well and allow to dry about 1 week. Store in a cool, dark location for fall planting.

An excellent resource for further information on daffodils is the American Daffodil Society. There are at least 25 species but many cultivars of daffodils consisting of thirteen divisions based on description. For example all daffodils in Division 1 have a cup that is as long as or longer than the petals with one bloom per stem. According to the division classification, the clump pictured above is in Division 2 with a cup measuring more than a third but less than half of the length of the petals.

I have several clumps of daffodils here. Some have double trumpets (Division 4) and most are Division 2. Some are all yellow and shades of yellow with yellow cups (corona) and perianth while others have yellow cups with white perianth. Most of my clumps are being naturalized in the back yard rather accidentally as we removed flower beds but the bulbs survived. The look is really quite pretty in the sloping and gently rolling backyard so I plan to expand the naturalization of both daffodils and crocuses.

Warning: All parts of the daffodil but more so the bulb contain lycorine and galanthamine that are toxic. They can be dangerous to animals especially dogs. Pets and children should always be supervised when in the garden. For more information on poisonous plants in your garden please click here.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
©2007


2 comments:

  1. Your blog is very helpful for a new gardener like myself. I've enjoyed my visit and will be returning. =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Jen! I'm glad you are finding my blog helpful.

    ReplyDelete

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