Daffodils, the flowers symbolizing friendship, are some of the most popular flowers exclusively due to their unmatched beauty. Daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus. Daffodil flowers have a trumpet-shaped structure set against a star-shaped background.
Often the trumpet is in a contrasting color from the background. The name Daffodils includes the cluster-flowered yellow Jonquils and the White Narcissi , as well as the include as the more common trumpet shaped flowers (right), members of the genus Narcissus.
Daffodils are native mainly to the Mediterranean region, in particular to the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Northern Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to the species, the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids. Generally Daffodils are yellow, and range from yellow-and-white, yellow-and-orange, white-and-orange, pink, and lime-green.
All Daffodils have a corona in the center that looks like a trumpet and a ring of petals all around. The natural Daffodil is colored golden yellow all over while the trumpet may often appear in a contrasting color.
The paper-white Daffodils could be planted in gardens that are outdoors. But they could also grow in indoor gardens during Christmas.
Daffodils come in all sizes, from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Largely for show purposes or for guidance in gardening, certain species and named cultivars have been determined by the American Daffodil Society to be miniatures and must compete by themselves in Daffodil shows.
Difference between Daffodils and Narcissus
There is literally no difference between the Daffodils and Narcissus. The two words are synonymous. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for those commonly called daffodils and Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus.
Facts about Daffodils
- The garden Daffodil's ancestors come from the states around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain and Portugal and the Middle East, such as Turkey. The earliest record mentioned about Daffodils was around two or three hundred years B.C.
- Grown extensively by the ancient Greeks and the Romans, Daffodils nevertheless became a forgotten flower until about 1600 and even in 1860, there were fewer than 350 cultivated hybrids.
- Around 1629, a group of Englishmen took the Daffodil out of the weeds and put it into the garden. Daffodils were in favor again.
- During the days of the American experience and the expansion west, Daffodils were well established as a "must have" in the garden.
- Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans who thought that the sap from Daffodils had healing powers. Actually the sap contains crystals that can irritate the skin.
Daffodils grow perennially from bulbs. In temperate climates they flower among the earliest blooms in spring. Daffodils often grow in large clusters, covering lawns and even entire hillsides with yellow.
Depth, as a general rule, needs to be thrice the height. This means large bulbs should have a depth of 6 to 8 inches, a medium size 3-6 inches and a smaller size 2-3 inches. Always remember that the load of soil proves helpful in protecting the bulbs from breaking too easily and in keeping them upright for a longer duration.
If this fact is ignored and enough depth is not given, the Daffodil will bend down very soon. Though Daffodil blooms will come in bigger clumps, the bulbs and flowers will be scant.
Steps to growing Daffodils.
- Choose a well-drained, sunny place, with a slightly acidic soil.
- Plant your Daffodils so that their top (pointed end) is at least two times as deep as the bulb is high (top of a 2" bulb is 4" deep).
- Plant bulbs deeper in sandy soil than in clay.
- High-nitrogen fertilizers should be avoided.
- Daffodils need lots of water while they are growing.
- After blooming, never cut the foliage until it begins to turn yellow (usually late May or June).
- This is then the time to dig them. Wash the bulbs thoroughly and let them dry completely (at least a week).
- Put them in onion sacks (or panty hose) and hang them in the coolest place you can find until they're ready to plant. Good air circulation will keep the storage rot at a minimum.
Daffodil Plant Care
- Like most perennials, Daffodils will do well with about 1 inch of water per week while they are actively growing and blooming - from March to May.
- Mulch can be tremendously helpful for Daffodils to conserve moisture.
- The best thing you can do for your Daffodil bulbs is to provide them rich, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter in it.
- Most organic bulb fertilizers can be placed right into the planting hole because they're very gentle and non-burning.
- Since a Daffodil is a perennial, every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.