Will blind daffodils flower again?

How To Make Sure Your Daffodils Keep Flowering

Daffodils coming up blind is a common problem easily solved

Narcissus pseudonarcissus at Troutbeck churchyard, Windermere, Lake District

Daffodils which don’t flower, come up blind, still produce a lot of leaves and either no flowers or very few can be affected by several factors:

If they become too dry after they have flowered and before the leaves have yellowed and died back it can impair bud formation for the following year. Just make sure that you keep them well watered from planting in autumn, when they start their growth period, until the leaves have gone yellow and died back.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

Cutting off the foliage after it has flowered prevents the plants from photosynthesising and making new buds and bulbs for the following year; knotting leaves also has the same effect. Leave the foliage until it has gone yellow, then you can remove it. If you have bulbs naturalised in grass make sure that you don’t mow until the leaves have yellowed.

Make sure that you take off the flower heads after they have gone over. If the plant is allowed to run to seed it puts its energy into producing seeds instead of building up the bulb and producing a new bud for the following year.

The soil can become depleted of nutrients by the bulbs being in the same place for years, this can affect the formation of the following year’s buds and bulbs. Feed with a slow release balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore, in the autumn then mulch with good quality peat-free compost or home-made garden compost. Feed weekly with Tomorite after flowering, this aids the formation of buds for the following year.

Bulbs planted too shallow will produce a lot of small bulbs which are too small to flower so make sure you plant them about 4 times their own height; about 10 – 15cm (4 – 6”) deep, depending upon the size of the bulb.

Narcissus ‘Double Campernelle’

Daffodils should be planted almost as soon as they come into the garden centres, usually mid-August. Try and get them into the ground by the end of September; leaving the planting too late in autumn can lead to them not flowering very well. However they should flower well the following year.

Overcrowding leads to too many plants competing for too few nutrients and is usually seen in clumps left to naturalise in woodland or in the lawn. Dig up in summer after the foliage has died back and split the clumps into individual bulbs and re-plant in the autumn, after improving the soil with some fresh compost and a feed of a balanced slow-release fertiliser. Clean the bulbs of soil and loose scales and store over summer somewhere cool and dark, and away from mice!

Pests such as narcissus eelworm or narcissus bulb fly can decimate the bulbs and unfortunately there is no cure. Another sign of pests and disease is the leaves having yellow blotches before they would naturally die back. Lift the bulbs and cut in half; check for the presence of larvae or eelworms. If the interior scales have gone brown and soft this is also often a sign of pests or disease. The only remedy is to dig them up, and all the bulbs within a metre radius. Destroy the bulbs by burning or putting into the grey wheelie bin, don’t put them onto the compost heap as this would just provide ideal conditions for the pests and fungi to multiply. It is also a good idea not to re-plant the same area with narcissus in case there is anything left in the soil.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus; excellent for naturalising in grass or under deciduous trees

Always choose large, good quality bulbs from a reputable supplier. Make sure they are firm, not soft and wrinkled, and that there are no patches of mould. Choose your bulbs as you would your onions in the supermarket, making sure they also have nice shiny outer scales.

Breaking news

FELICITY REID/FAIRFAX NZ Daffodils alongside the Avon River in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Q. I have daffodils planted all over my garden. They are still coming up but I haven’t had a single flower for three years. Do I need to feed them something in particular? Or pull them out and start again?

A. Liz Brunsden from GardenPost has five tips to get daffodils to bloom.

* How to plant bulbs: Eight steps to spring success
* Daffodil Day: Top tips for best bulbs
* Three great plants to grow under trees

1. Make sure daffodils are planted where they’ll get enough sun. Daffodils require at least half a day of full sun – the more the better. More sun means more energy to produce foliage and flowers.

2. Check the drainage: Soil must drain freely or the bulbs will rot.

3. Dig up a few bulbs and check for insects. One cause of so-called “blind” bulbs is the bulb fly which lays eggs in the neck of narcissus, amaryllis and hyacinths. The grubs eat the bulbs from the inside out.

4. Check the planting depth. The planting hole should be two to three times the height of the bulb. Too shallow results in freezing bulbs in cold regions and scorching bulbs in warmer areas.

5. Don’t over fertilise. Use bulb food which is low in nitrogen. Fertilisers that are high in nitrogen produce foliage at the expense of flowers.

NZ Gardener

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A guide to growing daffodils

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Last updated on 23 May 2019

Plant daffodil bulbs before mid-June for a welcoming display in spring.

Related to growing daffodils: PLANTING SPRING-FLOWERING BULBS

Spring is just not spring without a few daffodils in the garden either in beds or in containers on the patio. Bulbs are available from most garden centres and should be planted before mid-June for a stunning display in spring. Daffodils like ‘Flower Carpet’ make excellent cut flowers. This is want you need to know about growing daffodils:

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE: Winter gardening guide


  • Plant them in light, dappled shade, or a spot that receives mild morning sun but is protected from the hot midday and afternoon sun.
  • Using a fork, loosen the soil to a depth of about 20cm and mix in some compost.
  • Plant the bulbs with about 5cm of soil above the neck and space them about 10cm apart.
  • Water them deeply (for 40 minutes or so with a sprinkler) every four days, depending on the weather. This is essential and the difference between success and failure. Keep the soil moist – a layer of mulch will help with this.
  • There’s no need to fertilise them while they’re growing; rather fertilise them after flowering with Hadeco Bulb Food or a 3:1:5 fertiliser so they can store nutrients for the following season.
  • After they’ve flowered, leave them to go dormant if the soil is well drained and they should flower again next spring. However if you need the space, lift them when the foliage starts to brown and store them in a dry place at room temperature.


All daffodils do well in pots, but it’s the dwarf varieties look amazing in containers. A grouping of miniature ‘Paperwhite’ daffodils will also do well indoors on a bright windowsill that’s out of direct sunlight. When growing them in a container, plant them in two layers to get a fuller look. In a deep container, plant the first layer, cover with soil and then add another layer.

More like growing daffodils in containers: Growing roses in containers


To get that natural English look, scatter bulbs on the lawn and plant where they fall. A spot under a tree looks best. Early-flowering ‘Flower Carpet’ is the ideal variety for this purpose, but only plant them in a shade lawn such as Shade-Over, not kikuyu. Water as above.

You’ll also like: The secrets to a lush lawn

‘Flower Carpet’ is at its best when planted in large drifts under trees.


Liven up beds with some unusual varieties such as ‘Pink Select’ which has white petals surrounding a pale yellow cup that eventually turns pink. ‘Juanita’ makes a bold display with its broad yellow petals and large orange cup. ‘Ice Follies’ has white petals and large, creamy yellow cup. At 40–50cm tall, these daffodils can be planted at the front of a perennial and shrub border, or in the middle of a border among spring-flowering annuals and low-growing perennials.


Plant different varieties so when early-blooming varieties, such as ‘Flower Carpet’, ‘Paperwhite’ and ‘Ice Follies’, start to fade, they’ll be succeeded by late bloomers, like ‘Acropolis’ and ‘Pink Select’.

Daffodils-‘Paperwhite’ does well in containers.

For more information on growing daffodils, or to purchase them, visit hadeco.co.za


Hadeco hadeco.co.za

How to grow daffodils

The golden trumpets of hardy narcissus, large and small, brighten our gardens in spring. They are often referred to by their common name – daffodil. Bulbs are planted in autumn and from each bulb, you can enjoy years of reliable colour. There are many different varieties, some flowering in February and others as late as early May.


Narcissus range in height from about 5cm up to 45cm and although most commonly bright yellow, white and pink varieties are available.

Here are our tips for growing daffodils successfully.

The golden trumpets of hardy narcissus, large and small, brighten our gardens in spring. Narcissus ‘Hawera’

Where to plant daffodils

Narcissus are happy to grow in sun or light shade. They prefer a moist but free-draining soil. Narcissus can be grown in containers, in borders or in lawns. Wherever you plant them they look far more at home when planted in generous drifts.

Planting daffodil bulbs

How to plant daffodils

When buying bulbs choose those that are large and firm. Narcissus bulbs need to be planted in autumn. If planting narcissus in a compacted soil improve the soil by digging in organic matter. A very compacted soil will not encourage generous flowers.
Most narcissus need to be planted about 10cm deep (follow instructions given for individual varieties).

If growing in a container use a John Innes no 2 or 3 and position the container in a sunny spot. Also plant spring bedding plants in the container to create a colourful display. Water containers so that the soil remains moist but not wet. It is possible to leave bulbs in a pot for many years, but replace the compost above them each year.

When growing in grass throw a handful of bulbs onto the grassy area. Where they land is where you plant them if you’re trying to create a natural look. Using a bulb planter pull out plugs of soil and put the bulbs in the holes, pointy end up. Place the core of soil and turf removed back into the hole.

Bulbs can be planted into open soil using a hand trowel or bulb planter. Space bulbs two bulb widths apart.

Narcissus ‘Golden Dawn’

Propagating daffodils

Established plantings of narcissus can be divided in autumn. Lift clumps carefully with a garden fork and peel the bulbs apart. Replant straight away.

Narcissus ‘Elka’

Daffodils: problem solving

On occasion daffodils will produce a healthy crop of foliage but fail to flower. This is known as daffodil blindness and it can be the result of many things.

There is a possibility that bulbs have not flowered as they were poor bulbs when planted. Other reasons include soil that is too dry or the foliage being cut back too quickly after flowering the previous year. Daffodils will not flower if they receive less than three hours of good sunlight a day. Overcrowding is the most likely cause. To resolve lift and divide bulbs in autumn.

How to look after daffodils

In poor soils a slow-release bulb fertilizer can be applied in spring. Once flowers have faded deadhead plants. Don’t cut the foliage back until it has gone brown. If growing narcissus in a grassy area then you might not be able to cut the grass until June.


Leave foliage to die back naturally after flowering

Never tie up the foliage of narcissus once flowering is complete. Leave foliage messy in order to allow a much energy to go back into the bulbs for the following year. Only cut back the foliage once it has turned yellow.

Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’

Daffodil varieties to grow

  • Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ – a miniature with bright yellow trumpet flowers in April. Height of 15cm
  • Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’ – a stunning multi-petalled flower that appears in April. Height 14cm
  • Narcissus ‘February Gold’ – popular thanks to its early bright-yellow flowers in February. Swept back outer petals. Height of 30cm
  • Narcissus ‘Fragrant Rose’ – a soft pink flower with scent in April. Reaches a height of 45cm
  • Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’ – March to April flowers that have just a trumpet and no outer petals. Reaches a height of 20cm

Daffodil Growing Guide

3 steps to planting daffodils


Growing Daffodil’s is easy, generally all they need is a good, fertile, free-draining soil and plenty of sun. Choose a well-drained site for your Daffodil’s as they loathe wet feet. They thrive in pots & containers too, so you have lots of options about where you can place and plant your bulbs. Daffodils need plenty of sun to flower, but will flower well if planted under deciduous trees, as the sunlight will be able to get through the branches when the tree has no leaves.

The main types of Daffodils are Cups, Miniatures, Ruffled and Trumpets. Favourite varieties to look out for are Accent, Bambi, Erlicheer, Manley, Moneymaker, St lssey, Soleil d’Or, Taurus and Tonga.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Bulb Mix. To help with flowering, use a side-dressing at planting time of Tui Bulb Food. Check individual planting instructions. Plant each bulb twice the width of the bulb. Always water well after planting.


The best times to plant are early in the morning, or late in the day so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Directions for planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Bulb Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Directions for potting plants

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Half fill your container with Tui Bulb Mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead pant material and roots.
  • Position the plant in the centre of the new container and fill with Tui Bulb Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm mix around the base of the plant. The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.


Feed your plants and they will reward you. Replenishing the nutrients used by your plants ensures your plants grow to their full potential. Feed your Daffodils with Tui Bulb Food or use an all-purpose variety such as Tui NovaTec® Premium Fertiliser. Fertilise when planting, when the first leaves and buds appear and then again straight after flowering.

A well-watered, well-nourished garden will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. While your Daffodils are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Once picked, Daffodils can survive with no water for a day or two.

Daffodil juice is toxic if consumed in large amounts, so it’s advisable if you are going to be picking large numbers to wear gloves.

Removing dead flowers from Daffodils is a good way to encourage new bulbs.

My Daffodils Are Not Flowering: Why Daffodils Didn’t Bloom

Late in winter we expect the perky blooms of daffodils to open and assure us spring is on the way. Occasionally someone says, “My daffodils are not flowering” this year. This happens for various reasons. Poor blooms on daffodils may be due to mistreatment of foliage the previous year or because bulbs are too crowded and daffodils won’t bloom.

Reasons Why Daffodils Won’t Bloom

Removing or folding leaves – Removing the foliage too soon after flowering last year can contribute to why daffodils didn’t bloom this year. Nutrients must be stored for daffodil blooms. These nutrients develop in the foliage after flowers bloom. Cutting down or folding the leaves before they have yellowed and started to deteriorate is a reason for poor blooms on daffodils.

Planted too late – Bulbs that were planted too late in autumn or small bulbs may be the reason why daffodils didn’t bloom. These situations may have produced small foliage and poor blooms on daffodils. Check to make sure bulbs are still there and have not rotted or been stolen by a carousing critter. If the bulbs are there and still plump and healthy, they will continue to grow and flower in the next season. Fertilize appropriately or work in organic material for blooms next season.

Too little sunlight – Another example of why daffodils didn’t bloom can be an issue of sunlight. Many flowering blooms need six to eight hours of full sunlight to complete the blooming process. If the area in which bulbs are planted is too shady, this can be why daffodils won’t bloom.

Too much nitrogen – Too much nitrogen fertilizer can explain why daffodils didn’t bloom. If the question is why don’t my daffodils have flowers, nitrogen may be the culprit. Often nitrogen fertilizer, if overused, creates lush foliage and little in the way of blooms. Organic matter that is rich in nitrogen can have the same effect, unless worked into the soil gradually. To correct an issue of poor blooms on daffodils and other bulbs, use fertilizer with a higher middle number (phosphorus), such as 10/20/20 or 0/10/10, prior to anticipated time of flowering.

Crowded bulbs – Poor blooms on daffodils that have bloomed profusely in years past usually indicate bulbs that are crowded and need division. These may be dug up and separated in spring following bloom time or in autumn. Replant in groupings, allowing further room for growth. By following these guidelines, you will never again have to ask, “Why don’t my daffodils have flowers.”

Dead or missing bulbs – If bulbs are no longer in the area where they were planted or are shriveled, you have discovered why “my daffodils are not flowering.” Examine the site’s drainage, which can cause bulbs to rot. If bulbs have been stolen by wildlife, you will likely notice that the soil has been disturbed or that other neighboring plants have been damaged.

4 Reasons Why Your Daffodil Bulbs Aren’t Blooming

Art Maripol

Nothing proclaims the arrival of spring like the sunny trumpets of daffodils. So it is disappointing when they don’t bloom. You planted them a few years ago, and their leaves are there. Why aren’t they flowering?

Too crowded

Daffodils reproduce by dividing and making new bulbs. That’s why you often see a slender adolescent bulb attached to a large one when you buy them. But after several years, a single bulb can become an entire colony, with bulbs growing on the shoulders of other ones. None have enough moisture or nutrients to produce a flowerbud, however. Solution: Lift and divide them.

Insufficient sun

If planted in the dark recesses of your garden, your daffodils will grow weaker each season until they no longer have the stored energy to develop a flowerbud. Solution: Dig them up and move them to a bed where they get about six hours of sunshine each day.

Too warm

If you have had an unusually mild winter or you live in the Deep South where the only sure bet is planting paperwhite narcissus, such as Ziva or Galilee, your bulbs may not have had enough cold weather to break dormancy. Solution: Purchase precooled bulbs, or plant your bulbs in containers where they will be more exposed to any cold weather you get.

Foliage damage

If the leaves were removed prematurely, either by a late freeze or an impatient gardener, the bulbs cannot replenish their energy reserves for the following season. The may have enough left to grow leaves, but flowering will have to wait until they gain strength. Solution: Fertilize bulb beds from late fall to early spring with a slow-release fertilizer, such as 9-9-6, at the rate recommended on the package. Then let foliage remain until it begins to yellow and flop over.

A Few Fun Facts:

  • The most common reason that daffodils cease flowering is that the bulbs have become too crowded. They need to be lifted, divided, and replanted.
  • Tulips rarely bloom a second time in most of the South because our weather gets too hot before the foliage has time to mature. Treat them as annuals, and plan to discard them, bulbs and all, after they have flowered.

DaffodilEssential Southern Plant

  • Amaryllidaceae
  • Perennials from bulbs
  • US, MS, LS, CS (northern third)
  • 9–1, except as noted
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Regular water during growth and bloom

Native to Europe and North Africa, these are arguably the finest and most valuable spring bulbs for the South. They are long lived, increasing naturally from year to year; they stand up to cold and heat; they have many garden uses; and they offer a fascinating array of flower forms, sizes, and colors. Given minimal care at planting, all thrive with virtually no further attention. They do not require summer watering (although they’ll accept it) and need only infrequent division. Finally, rodents and deer won’t eat them.
Flowering commences in winter in the Lower and Coastal South, in early spring elsewhere. The basic colors are yellow and white, but you’ll also find shades of orange, apricot, pink, cream, and even red.

Gardeners tend to use the names “daffodil” and “jonquil” interchangeably. Technically, however, “daffodil” refers to large-flowered kinds with flat, straplike leaves. “Jonquil” denotes N. jonquilla and its hybrids; they feature smaller, fragrant, clustered blooms and cylindrical leaves with pointed tips, reminiscent of quills. If you stick to calling them all “narcissus,” you can’t go wrong.

All have the same basic flower structure. Each bloom has a perianth (six outer petal-like segments) that surrounds (and is held at right angles to) a central corona (also called the trumpet or cup, depending on its length).

Most types reach 1–1 1/2 ft. tall. Flowers usually face the sun; be sure to keep this in mind when choosing a planting spot. Use narcissus under high-branching trees and flowering shrubs, among ground cover plantings, in woodland and rock gardens, or in borders. Naturalize them in sweeping drifts. Grow them in containers. They make fine cut flowers, though they should have a vase of their own; freshly cut stems release a substance that causes other cut flowers to wilt.

Plant bulbs as soon as they are available in fall. They should feel solid and heavy and be free of discoloration. “Double-nose” bulbs will give you the most and largest flowers the first season after planting.

After the blossoms fade, let the leaves mature and yellow naturally―if you cut the foliage before it yellows, subsequent flowering may be reduced or eliminated. Lift and divide clumps when flowers get smaller and fewer. To make this job easier, dig clumps just after the foliage withers so you can tell where the bulbs are. Separate the bulbs and replant them in freshly amended soil.

Like other plants, narcissus bulbs need food. Bonemeal used to be the recommended fertilizer, but no more: it lacks the nitrogen that promotes healthy foliage. Special bulb fertilizers are much better; look for a 10-10-20 formulation with controlled-release nitrogen. Mix fertilizer into the soil at planting time. In subsequent years, sprinkle bulb fertilizer over the bulb bed each fall at the rate specified on the bag, then scratch or water it in.

The most serious pest is the narcissus bulb fly. An adult fly resembles a small bumblebee. The female lays eggs on leaves and on necks of bulbs; when eggs hatch, young grubs eat their way into bulbs. Check bulbs before planting and destroy any grubs. Planting at the recommended depth will reduce infestations.

Surefire Daffodils for the South

12 Divisions of Daffodils

Trumpet daffodils.

The trumpet is as long as or longer than the perianth segments; one flower per stem. The best known is yellow ‘King Alfred’, a top-selling old selection that is quickly giving way to better performers. Newer ‘Arctic Gold’, ‘Dutch Master’, and ‘Marieke’ are superior yellows. Pure white selections include ‘Mount Hood’ and ‘Empress of Ireland’. Bicolors with white segments and a yellow trumpet include ‘Bravoure’, ‘Holland Sensation’, and ‘Las Vegas’. Among selections with yellow segments and a white trumpet are ‘Honeybird’ and ‘Spellbinder’.

Large-cupped daffodils.

The cup is shorter than the perianth segments, but always more than one-third their length; one flower per stem. Solid yellow selections include ‘Camelot’, ‘Carlton’ (possibly the most popular daffodil of all), and ‘Saint Keverne’ (a great choice for the Lower South). Solid whites include ‘Birthday Girl’, ‘Misty Glen’, and ‘Stainless’. Selections with white segments and a colored cup include ‘Accent’ (salmon pink cup), ‘Ice Follies’ (yellow cup), ‘Pink Pride’ (pink cup), ‘Redhill’ (red-orange cup), and ‘Salome’ (apricot-yellow cup that fades to salmon). Those with yellow segments and a colored cup include ‘By George’ (peachy pink cup), ‘Ceylon’ (red-orange cup), and ‘Fortissimo’ (orange cup). ‘Avalon’ has yellow segments and a white cup.

Small-cupped daffodils.

The cup is no more than one-third the length of the perianth segments; one flower per stem. Selections include ‘Audubon’ (white segments and pale yellow cup banded with pink) and ‘Barrett Browning’ (white segments and orange-red cup).

Double daffodils.

Doubling of the cup, perianth segments, or both; one or more flowers per stem. Flower looks more like a peony than a typical daffodil. Examples are ‘Cheerfulness’ (white with yellow flecks), ‘Golden Ducat’ (golden yellow), ‘Replete’ (white segments, pink cup), and ‘White Lion’ (white segments, yellow cup).

Triandrus hybrids.

Cup at least two-thirds the length of perianth segments; several nodding flowers per stem. Diminutive ‘Hawera’ has four to six lemon yellow flowers per stem; it is good for naturalizing and will spread by seed. Old favorite ‘Thalia’ offers elegant white, fragrant blooms.

Cyclamineus hybrids.

Early bloomers with one flower per stem. Perianth segments strongly swept back. Popular selections include ‘February Gold’ (solid yellow), ‘Jack Snipe’ (white segments, yellow cup), and ‘Jetfire’ (yellow segments, red-orange cup).

Jonquilla hybrids.

Tazetta and Tazetta hybrids.

Heat zones 10–7. Early-blooming types bearing clusters of 3 to 20 flowers on each stout stem; many have a musky-sweet fragrance that can be overpowering indoors. The most heat-tolerant group, they do well in central Florida; hardy only to about 10°F. ‘Avalanche’ (‘Seventeen Sisters’) produces clusters of 15 to 20 blossoms with white segments and a yellow cup. ‘Falconet’ and ‘Scarlet Gem’ feature yellow segments and a red-orange cup. ‘Geranium’ has creamy white segments and an orange cup; ‘Minnow’ has a pale yellow cup and pale yellow segments that fade to cream.

Related: Gardening Ideas: Angel’s Trumpets

This division also includes the popular paperwhite narcissus that are forced into early bloom indoors. Plant them in bowls of pebbles and give them cool temperatures (50–60°F) and bright light. ‘Early Splendor’ has white segments and an orange cup; ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ has golden yellow segments and an orange cup. ‘Nazareth’ has soft yellow segments and a bright yellow cup; ‘Paper White’ is pure white.

Poeticus daffodils.

Fragrant flowers with white perianth segments and a short, disk-shaped cup with a green or yellow center and a red rim; one blossom per stem. ‘Actaea’ has the largest flowers (up to 4 in. across) and is the best known. These daffodils are sometimes given the name “pheasant’s eye,” but this term is correctly applied to the heirloom Narcissus poeticus recurvus.

Split-corona hybrids.

Cup is split for at least one-third its length into two or more segments. ‘Cassata’ (white perianth segments, yellow cup), ‘Colblanc’ (all white), and ‘Palmares’ (white perianth segments, peachy pink cup) are three of the more readily available selections in this small but growing class.

Heirloom species.

These old favorites often can be seen blooming at old homesites and graveyards and along roadsides throughout the South.

N. bulbocodium. Hoop Petticoat Daffodil. Grows to 6 in. tall. Small, upward-facing flowers are mostly trumpet, with very narrow, pointed perianth segments. Deep and pale yellow selections are available. Spreads by seed; good choice for naturalizing.

N. ‘Butter and Eggs’ (‘Golden Phoenix’, ‘Aurantius Plenus’). Double yellow flowers. An old Southern favorite similar to N. pseudonarcissus ‘Telemonius Plenus’, but flowers open dependably throughout climate range and are softer in color, without streaks. Grows 16–18 in. tall.

N. cyclamineus. Backward-curved lemon yellow segments and narrow, tubular golden cup; 6 in. high.

N. jonquilla. Jonquil. Semicylindrical, erect to spreading, rushlike leaves. Clusters of early, very fragrant, golden yellow flowers with short cups. To 1 ft. tall.

N. medioluteus. Twin Sisters. Grows to 14 in. tall, bearing two flowers per stem; white segments, small yellow cup. Very late; last daffodil of the season.

N. odorus. Campernelle Jonquil. A sweet-scented, old-fashioned favorite. Often found in older gardens and cemeteries in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Grows to 1 ft. tall. Early in the season bears golden yellow, bell-like cups with recurved round segments; two to four flowers per stem. Rushlike leaves. Tolerates heavy clay and limy soils. ‘Plenus’ has double flowers.

N. pseudonarcissus. Lent Lily. One of the oldest daffodils―in cultivation since 1200 a.d. Grows to 12–14 in. tall. Long yellow cup; twisted yellow perianth segments that are swept forward, giving the blossoms a dog-eared look. Blooms early. ‘Telemonius Plenus’ (considered by many to be identical to ‘Van Sion’) has double yellow flowers with green streaks. Flowers of this selection often fail to open properly in the warm, humid springs of the Lower and Coastal South.

N. triandrus. Angel’s Tears. Clusters of small white or pale yellow flowers on stems to 10 in. Rushlike foliage.


This category contains all types that don’t fit the other divisions. ‘Tête-à-tête’ and ‘Jumblie’ (both yellow) have flowers like those of the Cyclamineus hybrids, but they’re dwarf plants that reach a height of only 6 in.

Forcing Daffodils for Early Bloom

For early bloom indoors, set bulbs close together in a pot with their tips level with the soil surface. Place the pot in a well-drained trench or a cold frame and cover with 6–8 in. of sand, chopped leaves, or pine straw. Look for roots in 8 to 10 weeks (carefully remove the soil mass from the pot). Then move the pot to a cool room or greenhouse and watch for blooms. Keep well watered. After the blooms fade and the last frost is past, transfer the bulbs to your garden.

The amazing daffodil is blooming on schedule — despite the relentless March chill

A daffodil is in bloom in Oakton on Monday. (Kevin Ambrose) By Kevin Ambrose March 29, 2018

I first became intrigued with daffodils when I found them growing in the woods next to abandoned colonial and Civil War-period house sites.

In the spring, it’s not uncommon to find a solitary stone chimney in the woods next to blooming daffodils that are just as bright and beautiful as the first year they were planted. Despite the abandonment of the houses, these flowers continue to bloom where the original owners planted them. They’ve even expanded their coverage as the colonial yards turned to forests.

I’ve successfully replanted daffodil bulbs from six or seven Civil War-period house sites in my yard, and they bloom every year, just as they have for decades. It’s interesting to ponder that those plants, or their parent plants, lived through the Civil War, the World Wars, and every blizzard and heat wave we’ve experienced since. It’s such a resilient flower.

This year, the cherry blossoms are delayed by several weeks because of persistent cold and blustery weather. But the dependable daffodil is on schedule, as always.

The daffodil is a hardy plant that begins to bloom in late winter and early spring. It has a thick skin, or tunic, that protects the inside of the bulb — the developing leaf and flower bud — from the harsh elements. The bulb never stops growing and continues to absorb nutrients year-round to prepare for the bloom. It can survive cold spells, snowstorms and even the worst summer drought.

There are varieties of daffodils that begin to bloom as early as late February and others that bloom as late as May. If you take a drive through the D.C. area this week, you’ll probably see dozens of the yellow and white daffodil flowers in yards, gardens and even in the woods.

Daffodils are an ancient plant that became popular in Europe during the 16th century and can grow and reproduce for decades, even centuries, in the same plot of ground. That’s why this plant is so amazing — it can bloom in the same location for centuries, if left undisturbed.

I interviewed Peggy Bier from Merrifield Garden Center about the proper planting, care and feeding of daffodils. Peggy co-hosted the TV show “Merrifield Gardening Advisor” on NewsChannel 8 for many years. Below is my interview with Bier:

When is the best time to plant daffodils?

Daffodil bulbs are best planted in the fall, from September through early December, but October is the best month for planting. In the spring, you can purchase blooming daffodils in pots to display or plant.

How do you plant a daffodil bulb?

Daffodil bulbs should be planted to a depth of three times the size of the bulb. The dirt should be mixed thoroughly with fertilizer, such as Plant-tone, when planting.

Should daffodils be trimmed back after they bloom?

No, the yellowing, or maturing, foliage should not be trimmed. It feeds the bulbs. Annuals or shrubs can be planted around the daffodils to conceal the dwindling and yellowing daffodil stalks. Spirea is a good choice.

I have some daffodils that sprout well but don’t flower. What do you recommend to help those daffodils bloom?

Daffodils should be dug and separated every five years. The best time to separate daffodils is in the late spring. Lift, divide and fertilize the bulbs when replanting.

What is your favorite kind of daffodil?

Any daffodil I’m standing next to.

Daffodils bloom with snow at the United States Botanical Garden on the Mall, March 21. (Kevin Ambrose)
Daffodils bloom around an abandoned Civil War-period house site near Culpeper. (Kevin Ambrose)
A daffodil blooms in Dumfries from a century-old plant. These old daffodils are often called Heirloom daffodils , Van Sion daffodils or Butter and Eggs daffodils . (Kevin Ambrose)
Daffodils bloom in Colonial Williamsburg, March 11. (Kevin Ambrose)
Daffodils for sale at Merrifield Garden Center in Fairfax. (Kevin Ambrose)
Daffodils bloom in Williamsburg on March 11. (Kevin Ambrose)
Daffodils bloom in Oakton on Monday. (Kevin Ambrose)

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