Daffodils (Narcissus, daffadowndilly, jonquil) are usually yellow flowers, but you can find white, pink, orangey-red, and bi-colored varieties as well. Blooms contain a trumpet-shaped central corona surrounded by six petals. However, many modern cultivars may have up to twenty flowers on a leafless stem.
You can find fifty species and 25,000 singles and double-flowered varieties of this plant on the market. Believe it or not, this perennial flower originated in Spain and Portugal grows all over North America. You can’t find them only in extremely hot and humid regions.
Daffodil is a Toxic Plant
Poisoning from eating Daffodils is not as rare as it might seem at first glance. Actually, all parts of this flower are toxic, but one of the crucial problems is eating bulbs. Believe it or not, it may happen that someone mistakably takes the plants’ bulbs instead of onion in winter.
This flower can also be poisonous for pets playing freely in your yard. Once ingested, it may irritate the mucous membrane of the mouth and cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fortunately, symptoms are not life-threatening and disappear within a few hours.
The reason for these troubles is two chemical elements that are an integral part of this plant. The first one is the lycorine, mostly concentrated in bulbs. This chemical causes problems with the stomach because it triggers vomiting (it has so-called emetic properties).
The other dangerous chemical is oxalates also containing in bulbs. They cause local issues such as irritation of the skin, throat, lips, and tongue.
Luckily, the level of Daffodil toxicity is quite low unless eaten in a large quantity. For example, one bite will upset your pet’s stomach, but a few digested bulbs will cause poisoning.
In most cases, rinsing the mouth and drinking milk or water will help. If you notice difficulties in swallowing or feel throat pain, consultations with a physician are required.
The Most Popular Variation of Daffodil
There are thirteen varieties of Daffodils. They are classified by the form of their blossoms.
Classification of Daffodils
Variety per division
|Appearance||Number of flowers per stem|
|Trumpet (Division 1)||Cup is as long as the petals||
One flower per stem
Large-Cupped (Division 2)
|Cup is at least one-third of the petals||One flower per stem|
|Small-Cupped (Division 3)||Cup is less than one-third of the length of the petals||
One flower per stem
Double (Division 4)
|Cup and petals are clustered||One or more flowers per stem|
|Triandrus (Division 5)||Two or more hanging, bell-shaped flowers||
Two or more flowers per stem
Cyclamineus (Division 6)
|Swept-back petals||One flower per stem|
|Jonquilla (Division 7)||Cup-shaped cup with spread petals||
One to five flowers per stem
Tazetta (Division 8)
|Clusters of flowers||Three to twenty flowers per stem|
|Poeticus (Division 9)||Disc-shaped cup with a green or yellow center. The red edge is surrounded by pure white petals||
One flower per stem
|‘Hoop petticoat’ shaped cup with small golden petals||One flower per stem|
|Cup with white, orange, or pink petals||
One flower per stem
|White or orange cup with white petals||
One flower per stem
Other Daffodil Cultivars
|Inter-division hybrids which don’t fit into any of the previous categories|
|Daffodils distinguished by botanical names (Division 13)||
Wild variants or hybrids found in natural Daffodils
They are divided as standard varieties but with smaller, 2 inches (5 cm) long flowers
How to Plant Daffodil Flower in Your Garden
Planting Daffodil in the garden
Try to plant your Daffodil bulbs in autumn, approximately a month before the first frost. Do it in a period from September to December. This plant is an ideal choice for flower borders and patios, but you can grow it in containers and informal gardens as well.
Also, you may consider planting your Daffodil between shrubs or in a large grove or woodland garden if you prefer that way.
Dig a hole with a gardening shovel. It should be three times larger than the root of the plant. For example, if the bulb is 2 inches (5 cm) tall, you should dig a 6 inches (15 cm) deep hole. Put them 3 to 5 inches (7.6 – 13 cm) deep and water well.
If winters in your region are cold, you should cover bulbs with at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick layer of the soil.
The best way to get abundant flourishing is to plant bulbs in clumps instead individually. Place them 4 to 8 inches (10 – 20 cm) apart depending on the expected height of chosen variety.
Planting Daffodil in a container
It is not rare that forced bulbs don’t bloom the following spring. That means that you will miss a flowering season after transplanting. Therefore, you may wish to plant your own bulbs instead of buying potted ones.
It is not too complicated. If you intend to grow your Daffodil on the windowsill, keep in mind that its roots reach about 12 inches (30.5 cm). Therefore, you should choose an 8 inches (20 cm) deep container, at least 8 to 12 inches (20 -30.5 cm) in diameter.
Since this flower prefers well-drained soil, the container should have enough drainage holes. Fill it with potting mix up to two-thirds the depth of the pot.
Place the bulbs on the ground with the points just below the rim of the container. Water well and add the rest of the mix.
Keep the container in the dark place with the temperatures from 40 to 45 F (4.5 – 7 C) in the next three months. You can place it in a basement, fridge, or even outdoors if the temperatures are appropriate. Keep watering bulbs occasionally when the soil becomes dry.
After that period, move the container to a sunny place with the temperatures from 55 to 65 F (13 – 18 C). That way, you will stimulate the growth of a stem and the foliage.
Once the first leaves occur, move the container into indirect sunlight. However, avoid places with too warm temperatures because they will affect flowering negatively.
Keep watering your plant with a watering can, and add a handful of bone meal or fertilizer when needed. If the pot is big enough, you can grow your Daffodil that way for up to three seasons. However, a better idea is to move them into your garden and pot new bulbs each season.
How to Care Daffodil in Your Garden
Daffodil can tolerate the most types of soils, but they prefer growing in well-drained ones. Choose chalky, clay, loamy, or sandy ground, which is slightly acidic to neutral.
Daffodil needs full sun to light shade to grow healthy and flourish abundantly. Keep in mind that direct sunlight may burn leaves and cause wilting of flowers.
If you grow this plant in the container, place it near a window to provide bright but filtered sunlight for vigorous growth.
Almost all varieties of Daffodils require a cold period to set flowers. If you grow them in the pot, they will need the temperatures from 50 to 70 F (10 – 21 C) to prolong a period of flourishing.
Water your plant regularly throughout spring and autumn when 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the top layer of the soil becomes dry. If the winter is without snow cover, you should keep the corms moist.
Since Daffodil goes dormant in summer, you should stop watering it at least a month after the blooms fade to allow the ground to dry. If you grow your flower in the container, don’t forget to empty the tray half an hour after watering.
Daffodil is a self-sufficient plant. Add a low-nitrogen, high-potash fertilizer to encourage flourishing, especially if the ground in your garden is not fertile enough. If you want to transplant the bulbs, you should apply a balanced fertilizer twice a month after the blooms fade.
Don’t cut the foliage before they die off to allow your plant to store enough energy in the bulbs for the following blooming season. Prune leaves approximately two months after flowering when it becomes yellow and dies back.
Why Daffodil Goes Blind
When Daffodil doesn’t bloom, gardeners say that they go blind. For some reason, the flower can’t produce buds, or something has destroyed them. There are some common reasons:
- Inappropriate depth of planting – If you don’t plant bulbs deep enough, you can expect flower buds die in summer.
- Poor growing conditions – Too hot, dry springs may cause unsatisfactory growth of bulbs. Consequently, you will have poor flowering of your Daffodil the following season.
- Cutting green leaves – After flowers wither, you shouldn’t cut the foliage. It is crucial for feeding bulbs. Without leaves, you can’t expect regular growth of bulbs and abundant flourishing the next season.
- Lifecycle – Every year, large mother bulbs multiply to produce baby bulblets, which are not large enough to bloom right away. Once mother bulb dies, you need to wait bulblets grow and flourish the following season.
- Narcissus fly – Larvae of the narcissus fly can cause the occurrence of ‘bind’ Daffodils because they feed on buds.
Daffodil Flower Pests and Diseases
It is the most severe disease which affects Daffodil bulbs. At the very beginning, you will notice the premature death of leaves and a soft, rot bulb right after that. Once a grey mold covers bulbs and causes rot, the full recovery will become impossible.
The only thing you can do is to burn infected bulbs. Also, you should avoid planting this plant in the contaminated ground for three to four years.
Yellow stripe disease
The virus causes the occurrence of streaked, yellow, and brown leaves. Also, you will notice the absence of flowering because young buds can’t open. Unfortunately, you should destroy infected plants since there is no cure for this disease.
It is probably the worst crop pest in the world. They affect bulbs, which become soft and distorted with brown spots. Consequently, you will see swollen and yellow leaves and poor quality flowers.
Since there is no effective cure against these pests, the only thing you can do is to try to help your plant to survive. A hot-water treatment is an excellent way to prevent decay of bulbs.
Dig them at the beginning of July and immerse in a tank of boiling water. After approximately three hours, pests will die in temperature of 110 F (43 C).
These pests attack bulbs and destroy them entirely by moving from one bulb to another. Try to get rid of mites by applying the hot-water treatment and replanting bulbs in the healthy ground.
It lays eggs on the necks of bulbs, usually in May. After hatching, maggots start burrowing into the center of bulbs. The result is the yellow and stunted foliage.
The hot-water treatment may help to get rid of these pests, as well as spraying leaves with the toxic sodium arsenate after the blooming season.
Slugs and snails
Except for causing damage on leaves and flowers, these creatures may become vectors for spreading viral diseases. Prevent their occurrence by using beer traps or get rid of them by spraying molluscicide.