Daffodils are one of the few garden plants that almost everyone will recognise at once, and they are so easy to grow it is not surprising that countless tons of daffodil bulbs are sold every autumn. To ensure the best possible results there are some simple rules to follow.
- Make sure bulbs are planted deeply enough, and that means a planting hole at least 6 inches / 15 cm deep for standard varieties. Smaller varieties need a hole 3 times the depth of the bulb. Cultivate the soil and incorporate compost and a little fertiliser. Allow at least 2 – 3 inches / 5 – 7 cm between bulbs.
- When foliage starts to appear in spring apply general fertiliser to ensure strong growth and a good sized bulb for the following year.
- Dead head after flowering so that all the plants strength goes into the bulb.
- Do not remove the faded foliage for at least 6 weeks after flowering.
- Daffodils can be left in the ground over the summer but if you need to lift them store in a labelled paper bag in a cool dry place, not in an open box on a sunny shelf!
- Most important of all, when purchasing daffodil bulbs always buy from a reputable source. Bulbs sold at a ‘bargain’ price may be infected with pests and virus, and so not much of a bargain at all.
The choice of varieties is vast, here are some of my favourites:
- Tamara – and bright gold trumpet variety that flowers really early, sometimes as early as February.
- Camelot, another golden yellow trumpet with petals that overlap to almost form a complete ring, and flowering late in the season.
- Narcissus January Gold and N. February Gold, flowering very early in the year, these are perfect yellow trumpet daffs. in miniature, growing to only 12 inches / 30 cm.
- Narcissus Tete a Tete has become hugely popular, and deservedly so for planting in pots, troughs window boxes etc, each bulb producing a good cluster of perfect small blooms.
- Paperwhite Narcissus is not hardy enough to grow outdoors, but a pot of just 5 bulbs will produce clusters of small white flowers that will fill an entire home with the most heavenly scent.