Daffodils are a genus of popular hardy Spring-flowering plants with handsome white or yellow flowers. They are excellent for filling beds or borders and make fine effects when planted in apparently natural groups in the lawn. Thay are also known as Narcissus daffodil or Narcissus pseudo-narcissus, which has flat leaves and the scape bearing a single large flower having a large crown or cup. In the typical form the cup and petals are of a uniform yellow color, but in the variety bicolor the petals are white and the cup yellow, and there are several other varieties, including double and dwarf ones. One of the plants known by the garden name of “butter and eggs” is the double form of the incomparable daffodil.
When to plant Daffodils :
As soon as the flowering season is over, and the foliage is ripe, which will be shown by the leaves becoming yellow, the bulbs should be dug up and stored away (after removing the dry leaves) in boxes filled with dry soil and kept in a cool dry cellar until September or October, when they should be replanted where they are wanted for effect the following Spring, or, if the space is not required, the bulbs may be left in the ground and will give good results the following season.
How to plant Daffodils :
The best soil for the Daffodils is a deep rich brown loam which has been freely manured the previous Spring, and from which a crop of some annual flowers has been gathered. In August, after clearing off the asters, stocks and other Summer-flowering plants, spade the ground over to the depth of at least one foot, leave the ground open for two or three weeks, rake the surface over and plant the Narcissus bulbs from four to six inches deep and from eight to twelve inches apart.
When planting them in the lawn, avoid symmetrical lines or formal shapes as far as possible, a good plan being to take the bulbs in the hand and to scatter them freely, planting them where they fall. When planting in the grass, take up a piece of the sod about three inches in diameter and six inches deep; in the bottom place about an inch of light rich soil, then plant the bulb, fill in another three inches of soil, and, on top of this, replace the sod which should be root-trimmed to one inch thick, leaving the lawn level and smooth as before digging.
When planting groups in the herbaceous or mixed border, if possible give them a partially shaded situation, making the groups of irregular outline and seeing that each group contains one variety only.
The usual mode of propagation is by offsets which should be separated from the parent bulbs during the dormant season and planted out separately for a year in order that they may grow large enough for flowering. They may also be raised from seeds but the process is a slow one. The seeds should be sown as soon as ripe a quarter of an inch deep in light loamy soil, in pans or boxes; the second year plant out the young bulblets about two inches apart and a quarter of an inch deep in a prepared border. The third year plant them in their flowering quarters as before directed.