Act now for spring daffodils!

There’s a lot more to love about daffodils than their cheery trumpets heralding spring.  And the good news is that it’s not too late here in the DFW Metroplex to plant them.

  • Unlike traditional tulips and hyacinths, many varieties of daffodils tolerate our warmer winters and will naturalize, meaning they gradually spread and come back year after  year.
  •  Daffodils make great cut flowers and many are fragrant.  (Just don’t mix them in the vase with other flowers without preparing the stems to remove the toxic sap that degrades other flowers.)
  • Their toxicity helps repel squirrels, deer, and rabbits that otherwise love to munch on spring bulbs.
  • Daffodils are easy peasy, requiring little maintenance to get high visual impact in your garden.

Planting daffodil bulbs (the Narcissus genus) is best done in November in North Texas, after the soil has cooled off a bit and we’re getting fall rains.  However, given the current delay in the full onset of winter here, you can still get them in the ground and have a decent chance of blooms in February or March if Mother Nature cooperates.  The bulbs need to be planted a few inches apart in well-drained soil two or three times as deep as the diameter of the bulb in a sunny to partly sunny spot.   Less than ideal conditions?  Plant them just as deep but closer together in a tall container in good potting soil with pansies, parsley, ornamental kale, and mizuna greens.  Keep the bulbs watered if we hit a dry spell.

Resist the urge to plant the bulbs in a row like soldiers.  You can get a more natural look by scattering the bulbs on the ground and then planting them where they fall.  If that’s too casual for you, try groups of three or five  tucked in between your summer perennials (like daylilies).  The emerging plants will hide the foliage of your bulbs after they finish blooming.  The bulbs’ foliage needs to remain intact until completely brown in order to feed the bulbs for next spring.

In my garden, I’ve had good success with ‘Ice Follies’ and ‘Tete a Tete’, which are fortunately easy to find for sale.   I got the super fragrant ‘Cragford’ 15 years ago at a local plant sale and they are still going strong.  Other recommended varieties for our area are ‘Falconet’, ‘Grand Primo’, ‘Ehrlicheer’, and ‘Cheerfulness’.  By planting a few varieties of daffodils with different bloom cycles, you can have a lovely display for several weeks this coming spring.  But only if you act now.

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