Gardening with Daffodils
It can often seem quite daunting to choose just the right plant given the enormous range available. An important starting point is the location within your garden as this will determine the height of the daffodils that you want to choose from.
An often-overlooked consideration is the light aspect. Daffodils can be planted in full sun or semi-shade but wherever they are planted the buds will always open to the side where there is warmth and light. Give this careful consideration, you do not want your daffodils turning their back on you. Planted in a sunny aspect they will increase more rapidly year on year.
I have found the best planting time to be from late September until the end of October. The cooler soil temperatures work against pest and diseases but there is still sufficient warmth to ensure maximum root development. The bulbs can be planted later but they must have been stored properly. Bulbs kept in a heated shop will likely be dead by the end of November; end of season bargains are rarely that. A healthy bulb should be solid and relatively heavy for its size.
Daffodil bulbs vary greatly in their size due to the many varieties available. As a rule, they should be planted at a depth twice their size but if you are in any doubt plant deeper rather than shallower. Shallow planting is one of the main reasons for daffodils growing blind. Given their diversity they are suited to all soil types but will benefit from digging in good garden compost prior to planting.
Daffodils are ideal for planting in grass and for many this is where they are at their best. Choose from the earlier flowering cyclamineus, triandrus and poeticus daffodils. This will allow you to cut your grass earlier, approximately six weeks after the bulbs have flowered. I am not a fan of throwing the bulbs over your shoulder and planting them where they land to achieve a natural look. Rather, plant overlapping drifts of similar varieties, marking out the drifts with sand before planting.
Finally, daffodils are ideal for containers, especially the smaller varieties. We see pots of bulbs being offered everywhere in the spring, often poor quality and expensive prices. It is very easy to plant your own in the autumn, either directly into your container or in to pots to sink into containers once growth starts to emerge.
Enjoy your garden,