Top Ten Performers: #9 Daffodils

The first bouquet of 2022 would have been much, much later without daffodils!

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!

  1. 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.
  2. Daffodils are one of the very easiest flowers to grow. Once they are planted, they will provide flowers for decades.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
The singles are early to mid-season bloomers

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.”

Split cup “Cassata” is one of the earliest bloomers, out in the open in an unprotected spot! See how the trumpet is split into sections that lay back against the outer petals?

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.

Some mid-season large trumpet singles, now joined by the first of the “late” blooming multi-bloom stems (Golden Delicious) and the earliest tulips!

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.

The last of the daffodils are the multi-flower per stem in pale yellow or cream to combine with lilacs, late tulips, purple hellebores and Solomon’s Seal. The dramatic lily-flowered tulip is “Sonnet.”

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.

Another great performer, the very large-flowered “British Gamble” has a lovely, ruffled salmon trumpet edge, soft yellow trumpet and pure white outer petals. Strong stems as well.

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.

Daffodil “Rip Van Winkle” looks more like a dandelion than a traditional daffodil!

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!

“Barret Browning”

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.

“Mallee”

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…..)

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About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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16 Responses to Top Ten Performers: #9 Daffodils

  1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

    I had no idea there were so many types of Daffodil. I love them, they really do signal winter coming to an end here in the UK. I live in military housing so move every 2 to 4 years, but I always plant Daffodil bulbs at every house. Like to think they are a nice surprise for the next family in the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      I always did the same! When I moved to the old farm in southern Indiana, a lovely surprise the first spring was a thick row of daffodils on top of the hill with a gap in the middle. Later on, I discovered that the original log cabin had been on top of that hill with daffodils planted on either side of the door. The cabin had been gone for decades, but the daffodils remained to mark that early homestead wife!

      Like

  2. bcparkison says:

    Question…Do you have then in a special ,them only bed? I probably dug up some of my ” wild ” dafs when redoing a bed for cut flowers and etc. How do you plant something to take their place once they have gone for the season.

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    • carolee says:

      I have many, many throughout my “old” gardens around the house, but the last 2,000 were planted in beds 3′ wide. As soon as the daffodils were up so I could see where they were easily, I planted gladiola bulbs between them. The daffodils were harvested before the glads were too tall, and the glads didn’t really compete much with them. Also, the glads were not heavy water users so I didn’t have to worry about rotting the daffy bulbs during summer. I harvested the glad bulbs but the were above the daffys and pulled up easily. This year there isn’t much room between the daffys, but I will stick spike celosia between wherever I can. Again, they don’t use much water and won’t need to be put in until the daffys are harvested because they need warm soil.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jorjagrael says:

    Your daffodils are beautiful! I planted some “fancy” pink ones years ago and remember being unimpressed with them after a couple of years. Are they like the fancy tulips, and need to be replaced every few years?

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    • carolee says:

      Maybe some of the fancy, highly bred ones aren’t as durable, but I really don’t know since I haven’t grown some of them until the past few years. I do know that my “British Gamble” are not nearly as large-flowered as they first were, but they are still bigger than most. I suspect it is because they are in gardens, and must compete with all the other plants (including trees) for nutrients and water. I did have one “fancy” one called “Wave” that disappeared but I think it was in a place with too much water over winter and probably rotted.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love them all, but ‘Mailee’ is especially lovely. I have quite a few daffodils, but there is always room for more.

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  5. Beth says:

    They are lovely and I’m amazed at all the varieties you have!

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  6. Beautiful and very informative post. I love Daffodils, too. Grew up with them and got to understand to never touch the petals, as they senstive to touch (our sweaty fingerprints). They are simply precious and worth admiring

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    • carolee says:

      Never heard that before…and you know I’ll have to test that out!!! Can’t wait til more are open here…have a few Tete e Tete, and a couple un-named ones from breeder Helen Link so far, but thousands of buds just waiting for warmer weather!

      Liked by 1 person

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