By Linda Jenkinson
In mid-March when the winter blues overtake me and it's hard to find a clear patch in the grey overcast sky above, I look out my front door and find a spot of sunshine in my newly growing daffodils. Growing golden daffodils is one way to get a good dose of sunshine before spring pulls back the blanket of winter.
Daffodils are one of the easiest flowers to grow and a perfect choice for the beginning gardener. Famous for the bright yellows of cultivars like the King Alfred, the Dutch Master, and the Marieke, daffodils come in thousands of colors that range from the demure whites of paper-whites to lemon yellow, peach and on to bold orange.
Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Along with the early harbingers of spring, there are also daffodil cultivars in mid and late season varieties. Growing daffodils in an assortment of sizes, colors, and bloom-times gives you an irresistible display that carries through spring into summer.
Although you can grow daffodils from seed, it may take up to five years to achieve a blooming plant. If you want growing daffodils next spring, purchase bulbs for planting next fall.
Plant outdoor bulbs deep-six to eight inches down from the top (pointy end) of the bulb- in a location where they will get plenty of sun. Remember, they're going to make their appearance when sunshine is at a premium! Also important for growing garden daffodils is a location with good drainage.
Less is more when growing daffodils. Space your daffodil bulbs according to the package directions. Although you may be tempted to plant them close together for a great looking first-year group, it's important to be mindful of the fact that they are prolific in bulb propagation. Planting daffodils too closely together results in a crowd of bulbs that fight each other for growing room!
One common mistake you can make when growing daffodils is to cut back the foliage after the flowers finish blooming. After your daffodils bloom, they'll start rebuilding their bulbs in preparation for the next year. During this time, the plants use foliage to collect both sunlight and moisture, so keeping them watered during this period is also important. Your daffodils are planning ahead to create that spot of sunshine to melt away the winter blues!
From the regal King Alfred in your garden to the demure Paperwhite on your dining room table, daffodils are a favorite bulb for growing indoors and out!