Daffodils are spring-blooming perennials that grow from bulbs and are among the first flowers to bloom after winter is over. Many varieties are available with different colours and shapes. Most daffodils have a cup or trumpet in the centre of the flower that is long and tubular to short and flat and a circle of petals that surround it. Daffodils come in all yellow and combinations of yellow and chartreuse, white, orange, coral, salmon, apricot and red. Another name for daffodils is narcissus and they come from the amaryllis family that is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Daffodil stems grow upright 1 to 2 feet high and are narrow, thin, smooth and green. Flower buds grow at the top of the stem and each stem holds one or more flowers.
Daffodil leaves are green, long, narrow and grow upright about 12 to 18 inches high. Many leaves grow from one plant with flowers appearing over top. Leave the leaves on the plant eight weeks after bloom even when leaves turn yellow. This allows energy to flow back to the bulb so it blooms again next spring.
All daffodils have a ring of petals that surround a tubular or flat corona and 13 divisions describe them. The trumpet division presents one flower per stem with the corona as long as the petals. Large-cupped types have one flower per stem with a corona smaller than the petals. Small-cupped varieties have short to flat coronas with one flower per stem. Double daffodils appear with one or more flowers per stem and the corona is double and ruffled. Triandeus daffodils have several flowers that hang and droop down from the stem. Cyclamineas have a prominent corona with petals that flow back from it. Jonquilla varieties grow one to five fragrant flowers per stem with tazettas having up to 20. Poeticus daffodils have white petals with yellow central cups rimmed with red. Bulbocodium daffodils have large trumpets and insignificant petals while split corona varieties look all ruffled in the centre.
Daffodils grow from pear-shaped bulbs covered in a brown paper substance called pellicle. Plant in fall with points up, covered with 4 to 5 inches of soil either eight inches apart or close together. Divide bulbs planted close every two years by digging them up using a garden fork inserted outside the perimeter of the area and prying up the bulbs. Dust dirt off and keep in a dry area out of the sun. Once dry, remove any offset bulbs that grow on either side of the mother bulb by pulling them off. Store bulbs by hanging in a nylon stocking until fall planting.
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