Fall bulb planting during autumn gardening is sure to be rewarded with masses of spring flowers. Narcissus, commonly called daffodil, has many bulb ideas to choose.
Narcissus is the botanical name for daffodil, spring flowering bulbs planted during autumn gardening. Gardeners should consider the types of daffodil flowers and gardens they want to plant before buying. There are as many daffodil bulb ideas as there are types of gardens to grow them in.
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Narcissus ‘Congress’ is a split and ruffled cup form collar-type daffodil that is hardy in zones 4 – 8. The fragrant white and orange flower blooms during the early to middle of spring on a 14” – 16” tall plant.
In contrast, the new Narcissus ‘Magellan’ has a yellow and orange double flower that blooms middle to late spring. This daffodil is also fragrant and would mix well with N. ‘Congress’ overlapping bloom times with the same size plant.
King Alfred Yellow Daffodils
For gardeners seeking the traditional yellow daffodil look, the popular improved King Alfred types are best choices. The trumpet Narcissus ‘Dutch Master’ is a well-known cultivar and, like all trumpet daffodils, is hardy as far north as zone 3.
The Narcissus ‘Juanita’ flower is another trumpet type but has a large orange cup and yellow petals. The plant blooms in early to middle of spring. All trumpet daffodils hold their flowers a long time, naturalize well in gardens and are tall plants.
Heirloom Narcissus Species
An heirloom species type called poet daffodils has a rich history. These daffodils have small dainty cups of contrasting colors set on very large white perianths.
A scented garden will stand out in spring planted with fragrant poet Narcissi. Narcissus poeticus recurvus ‘Poet’ is a late spring flowering example. It is a shorter plant that grows to 15” tall.
Narcissus jonquilla is another heirloom type. Narrow reed-like foliage and fragrant blooms that have smaller cups characterize this daffodil. In some parts of the United States, jonquil is a casual term for a yellow daffodil.
Narcissus ‘Intrigue’ is a late season flowering daffodil that is a true jonquilla appropriate for heritage gardens but is still as easy to grow as any common daffodil.
Tips on How to Grow Daffodils
The best climates to grow daffodils are where parts of the year experience frost. Although some daffodils can thrive in tropical climates, most require a cold treatment to thrive.
Daffodils like full to part sun garden locations. Plant daffodil bulbs in fall, at least six inches deep in well draining soil amended with organic matter.
Southern gardeners will have more success with cultivars and varieties that tolerate warmer climates. For instance, tazetta daffodils work best in zones 5 – 9.
What appear to be pink colored daffodils are really shades ranging from light salmon, apricot, pink, deeper coral, to soft old rose often called “horticultural pink.” These types of daffodils, called pink large cupped, are better planted in cooler locations with filtered sunlight, as the pink color washes out in hot sunny gardens.
When to cut off the foliage is a frequent garden question. For Narcissus, gardeners can cut off the foliage when the leaves begin to yellow. Some gardeners like to braid the green leaves for a neat appearance after the flowers have died.
Mixing Daffodils with Other Spring Bulbs
Narcissus mixes well with other spring flowering bulbs and are easily planted at the same time during fall. The blue of most Muscari contrasts with yellow daffodils nicely, and share similar qualities like deterring deer and reliably blooming year after year in the garden.
Ornamental Allium is another flower that deer do not favor. This spring flowering bulb grows in a variety of sizes and colors, sure to be useful in many garden themes. The sight of wild songbirds sitting on the larger globe-shaped Allium swaying in the wind makes planting worthwhile.
Tulips are popular spring flowering bulbs. However, especially for northern gardeners, tulips do not reliably return each year making them less economical to plant. Of all the spring flowering bulbs, tulips seem the most popular with rodents, rabbits and deer as well. Still, gardeners unable to resist their vivid colors have found strategies for growing tulips successfully.
Narcissus bulbs are easy to plant to create a mass of spring flowers. Mixed with other spring flowering plants or left planted alone, these beautiful flowers attract pollinators but not deer to the garden.