Daffoldils

One of my favourite flowers are daffodils. Although I like most narcissi, I prefer the deep yellow daffodils. Unless I want a particular variety, I leave buying bulbs until December or January. The garden centres are then getting desperate to sell them and many really good bargains may be had. You can buy 5 kilo bags for a pound or two. Its O.K. to plant daffodil bulbs up until January, as long as your soil is not frozen. They will flower this year, although they may be a bit late. Then they will continue to flower at the normal time in following years.

When planting Daffodils, particularly for naturalising, you should remember that they are going to be staying there for some time. The method of planting will be slightly different depending upon your soil. If you have light, fertile soil, then all you need to do is make a hole, put your bulb in and cover it up.If your soil isvery heavy and tends  to be waterlogged, then you need to make a larger hole and put drainage in the bottom, either in the form of grit mixed with compost or just plain compost. Similarly if your soil tends to be poor in nutrients, then you should add organic matter first.

The golden rule for planting all bulbs is that they should have twice the depth of soil above them as the size of the bulb. Therefore, for daffodil bulbs which are, say, four inches in depth, then you make a hole which is 12 ins, put your bulb in and cover with 8 ins of soil.

I have planted about 100 daffodil bulbs on a bank in the front of  my garden. Because the soil is so good, I just cut a slit with a spade and put daffodil bulbs in each end. That way, they are close enough to make a good show but have enough room to expand in future years. Be sure that the bottom of the bulb always touches the soil, otherwise it will not grow.You can then leave the bulbs in the ground for up to 10 years or so, until they get too crowded. You know when this is happening because the daffodils will produce leaves but no flowers. That is the time to thin them out. At this point, it is worth digging all of them out and replanting as you wish. Give them extra organic matter if you are re-planting in the same place. You will find you have upwards of ten times as many bulbs as you planted in the first place.

You should always dead head daffodils, that way they do not put there energy into making seeds but will grow their bulbs instead. You can grow daffodils from seed, but it is a very long process (about three years or more). Leave the leaves on the plants for six weeks after they have finished flowering. There is a lot of nourishment in them which will go back into the bulb to help feed it for next years flowers. Do not tie up the leaves as this prevents the goodness going back down.

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