In evaluating the Top Ten Performers of the 2022’s bouquet project, we’ve focused on those flowers that have a very long bloom period, provide a lot of bulk & visual interest in bouquets, play well with others, and are versatile. But today’s flower wins for other reasons!
- Daffodils allow us to deliver bouquets an entire month earlier than otherwise possible with locally grown flowers! That’s super important, especially after a long hard winter here in north central Indiana. The first bouquet for 2022 shown above was delivered on April 4th.
- Daffodils are one of the very easiest flowers to grow. Once they are planted, they will provide flowers for decades.
- They are not bothered by critters, including deer, rabbits, voles, moles, ground hogs, etc. Occasionally a squirrel might dig out a newly planted bulb, but since they won’t eat it, it can be easily replanted.
- Daffodil multiply, so the 1,000 I planted in the fall of 2021 produced flowers for 2022, but will likely produce two to three times the blooms in 2023! Now add the 1,000 planted in fall 2022, and we should be able to make hundreds of shut-ins smile next April.
- Daffodils can be harvested and held. For longest vase life, daffodils should be picked at the “goose neck” stage. Pull at the base, don’t cut. Place immediately in water with a few drops of bleach and move to a cool, dark location for at least 3 hours. Replace with fresh water. For longest storage, refrigerate at 42 degrees.
- Daffodils can survive outdoor temperature drops, which is a good thing since our weather fluctuates so much in early spring. Fully open flowers will be damaged by a freeze or hail, so I just watch the forecast. If there’s bad weather ahead, anything from “goose neck” to more open is harvested. Buds “goose neck” stage or less mature will seldom be harmed unless stems are bent over by strong winds or ice. The heavy-headed doubles like “Bridal Crown” and “Heamoor” are especially prone to folding over in wind, although breeders are working for stronger stems.
6. Daffodils are available in early, mid-season and late bloom. By planting a variety of types, I can get at least 7, sometimes 8 weeks of flowers for bouquets depending upon our erratic weather. Some of my earliest bloomers are the new split-cups, such as “Cassata” or “Mary Gay Lirette.”
The majority of daffodils are early to mid-season bloomers, the list seems practically endless! These are the ones most commonly found in the big box stores. You may have to search for special growers like Brent & Becky’s Bulbs for those season-stretchers at the early and late ends.
And as the season for daffodils comes to a close, there are only the late-flowering blooms left. Some of the late bloomers are “Sweet Ocean,” “Stef,” and “Geranium.” The varieties I selected for 2022 fall planting were a few more of the earliest but especially heavy on the latest types, especially those with multiple flowers per stem. I found these extremely useful in bouquets, adding a lot of color and bulk to a bouquet of tulips or mixed flowers like those below. My favorites were “Cosmopolitan,” “Golden Delicious,” and I’ve added “Starlight Sensation,” “Sunlight Sensation,” “Falconet,” “Hillstar,” and “Garden Opera.” I’m interested to see how they fit into the bloom schedule.
7. Daffodils come in more colors than bright yellow, although those “King Alfred” and “Dutch Masters” are still some of my favorites for their sturdiness, large size and brilliant golden color. They can really brighten a hospital room decor! Yellows can range from bold to very soft tones. Some daffodils have bright orange cups or soft apricot trumpets that pair well with tulips of similar shades. Oranges can range from nearly red to very soft peachy colors. Some, like “Pheasant’s Eye” can have red, green and yellow cups! “Alexis Beauty” is a soft yellow daffodil with a peach trumpet that has a ruffled darker peach edge. “Night Cap” is pure white but its large cup is soft yellow with a wide bright coral rim! The combinations seem limitless as breeders play around.
8. Daffodils are available in pure white, which goes with everything, making bouquet combinations easy. “Mount Hood,” “Thalia,”and “Starlight Sensation” are some examples. I’ve added more whites just for that reason.
9. Daffodils come in many forms (in addition to single flowers and clusters, etc.) besides the traditional trumpets, split cups and double forms already mentioned, there are the the hoop or petticoat forms, cyclamen, large cup, small cup, bowl and the shaggy “dandelion” form as well!
10. In addition to a range of colors and forms, daffodils come in a range of sizes from very petite for fairy gardens and tea cup arrangements, to the tall stems that are good for market bouquets and larger arrangements. Be sure to check height before ordering to fit your needs.
If the weather warms a bit, there may be daffodils blooming in my gardens yet this week, although the forecast isn’t promising with lows coming in the mid-teens. The water and soda bottles are all cut, de-labeled and ready to serve as vases. The Growing Kindness Project tags are already printed, cut and punched. The ribbon supply has been replenished, so we’re just waiting on the flowers.
If you don’t have daffodils in your garden, try putting some in pots or containers. They are much more forgiving than tulips and other bulbs, but they do need a cold period over winter so if it stays warm in your area, put the pots in a freezer for a few weeks! Those cheery flowers are worth the extra effort. Set them outside over the summer and fall, and repeat the freezing process year after year.
Note: Purists may be dismayed that I have used “daffodil” for all the jonquil and narcissus types, and lumped them all together. Sorry! (but only slightly…..)