“If one daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures; then one is too few.” – William Wordsworth
Those beautiful yellow daffodils, certainly they are harbingers of spring! We are always thrilled beyond measure at their very sight. Their arrival serves as a notice; winter is almost over. And, just think, those beautiful little treasures were under the 24 inches of snow we received. Amazing, isn’t it?
You are most likely wondering, why is she writing about daffodils? Yes, I know the daffodils have mostly finished blooming this spring. However, now is the time for them to receive some important attention, if you want to keep them healthy and see their stunning show another year.
The first issue at hand is to deadhead (remove) the old bloom. This can be done two different ways. One way is to take the stem of the old bloom and cut it off at ground level. The second way is to snip the old bloom off just below the seed pod and the brown paper-like sleeve. Deadheading is important, because the nutrients will no longer go into the seed pod and will therefore go into the bulb. This enables the bulb to continue producing lovely spring bloom.
The next important issue is food. Everyone likes a nice dinner and our plants/bulbs are no exception. You will want to feed your bulbs with an application of bulb food. This is done by sprinkling the granules around the base of the green foliage. Bone meal is also fine for bulbs; however, it does not contain as many of the necessary nutrients. Bulb food is available at local garden centers and can also be purchased on line through Amazon.com. A note of caution: Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen, this will result in too much green foliage and poor bloom.
Additionally, after the green leaves have completely wilted and turned brown, sometime early summer, lightly cover the area with some organic mulch, such as leaf mulch. NEVER, as in NEVER EVER, cut the green leaves of the daffodils until they have completely turned brown! These leaves are their main source of food for the next year.
Also, when the leaves begin to turn brown is the time to thin your daffodils. When daffodils become too crowded they can and often will fail to bloom. Daffodils can remain in one location for 3 to 5 years before they require thinning in order to achieve maximum bloom. Thinning your daffodils is twofold. You are giving your bulbs the attention they require and you are receiving a lovely gift. They have multiplied, giving you additional bulbs to plant or to share with friends. More spring beauty!
There are so many classifications, varieties and types of daffodils. And, now is the time for you to be thinking of the daffodils you currently have and if there are others you would like to consider. Remember, always plant in a well-drained, sunny location. Plant bulb with the top tip pointing up and the depth should be at least 2 times the height of the bulb.
At the end of this column I will share with you two companies I have ordered from for years. They are both extremely reputable and send a fine product. While you can purchase daffodil bulbs from just about any garden center, not all of these bulbs have been carefully selected or correctly packaged. Therefore, you may be purchasing bulbs which could harbor disease. And, you also may not be purchasing exactly what you think you are. Early in my gardening life, I once purchased a pink trumpet daffodil and when it bloomed the trumpet was flame orange. Lesson, purchasing bulbs can be pricey. And, in my opinion, your money is always best spent purchasing from a well-known reputable dealer. Should you decide to order bulbs, now is the time to do so. Because these bulbs are so carefully selected, their quantity is often limited.
For further reading, the American Daffodil Society is a wealth of information. I am a firm believer in plant societies and you will hear me speak of them often. Simply, they are where you go to learn.
If you have any gardening questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would enjoy hearing from you.
Sweet Daffodil Dreams,
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
7900 Daffodil Lane
Gloucester, VA. 23061
Old House Gardens
536 Third Street
Ann Arbor, MI 58103