Growing daffodils

by Kate Bradbury

I've been on a bit of a bulb-buying frenzy lately, and have more bags of narcissus than I know what to do with...

Daffodil flowerI've been on a bit of a bulb-buying frenzy lately, and have more bags of narcissus than I know what to do with.

To celebrate the purchase of my first flat a few weeks ago, I treated myself to some pheasant's eye daffodil bulbs. These are beautiful, scented, white-flowered daffs with dark red, jagged centres. I planted them in a large terracotta pot, next to a few pots of 'Minnow' - a dwarf, creamy-flowered variety with contrasting yellow centres.

Both varieties are quite late flowering in April and May, so to give my bare, new garden a splash of late-winter colour I bought 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'. This is a bright yellow, trumpet-flowered daffodil, which promises to be in flower from January. I thought Narcissus bulbocodium 'Golden Bells' would look good in March, and I couldn't resist the star-shaped blooms of Narcissus 'February Gold'. I think I've just about got it covered.

Daffodils will nearly always flower in their first year, but they need to be planted quite deeply - at least three times their own depth - to get them flowering again. It's also important to remove faded blooms to avoid the plants wasting energy on seed production, then wait at least six weeks before cutting back the foliage, as the leaves convert the sun's energy into food to help the bulb flower the following year.

I've planted most of my bulbs in pots for now, as my 'garden' is currently a series of concrete slabs. I plan to lift the slabs and replant the bulbs after they've flowered. But, seeing as I've run out of pots and still have some daffs, crocus and 200 mixed alliums to plant, I may invest in some aquatic baskets to plant the bulbs in. Once I've lifted the slabs I can dig a few holes and lower them into the ground. My spring bulbs will be none the wiser and look like they've always been there.

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Gardeners' World Web User 09/10/2009 at 09:09

I wish you well with the daffs. I have not had much luck with any of mine. I think they were too shallow. Like you i am planting again. This time assorted daffs and narcissi , some in beds and some in pots. Here's hoping for a better spring next year.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/10/2009 at 09:57

Try the Dwarf & Minature Narcissus, Less Likely to suffer 'Weather & Wind Damage. Sundisk [Sundisc?] is my favourite, As it is 'Delicately Scented'. The Ubiquitous 'Tete a Tete' is avavailable everywhere and rightly popular. Sinks & Containers look well with the smaller kinds.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/10/2009 at 16:51

could someone tell me how to plant snowdrops,as i have brought some bulbs last week and my neighbour told me thats its impossible to get them to flower and if they were to flower, the following years they would not flower they would only have this true... if so how do i plant them so i can acheive flowers every year,i wish to plant them in my lawn and some in the borders.

Gardeners' World Web User 09/10/2009 at 18:56

Yes the Pheasant Eye daffs are great and scented too, however they flower much later and many gardeners give up on the believing them to be flowerless (blind).

Gardeners' World Web User 09/10/2009 at 19:41

i too have tried snowdrops from bulbs without success ,but moved to a cottage 2 yrs ago and in early spring up popped masses, i have since seperated them and given to friends, this seems to be the best way. I have done same with Lily of the valley.

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