Planning for Daffodils

Written by Brenda Hyde

daffodilsAfter winter we are all ready for the wonders of spring. One of the cheeriest sights are the bright yellow faces of the daffodils. However, late summer and early fall is the time we need to be planting and nurturing our jonquils to make sure they are bright and healthy later.

Planting a bulb garden is a family project. You may either visit your local garden center in early fall or start looking at mail order bulb sources now. Decide how many you have room for and let everyone in the family pick their own! Here are the essentials you need to know as far as how much space they will take up:

  • Large daffodil varieties will need 5-6 inches of space between bulbs, and the miniatures will need just 1-3 inches.
  • You must also leave room in front or behind the bulbs for annuals that you will plant when the daffodils are no longer blooming. If you are planting in a bed that already has existing flowers that come up every year, simply take note where these plants are now and your bulbs can be planted around them as long as you space around six to 10 inches to be safe.

Creating your plan

The key to all this, is picturing in your mind the flower bed in the spring when the only thing popping out are the bulbs you have planted. You can make groupings in circles or squares. Think of it like a puzzle. Make your plan and sketch it out on paper. If you have older children, this would be the perfect job for them! Give them a measuring tape, pencil, little wooden markers and paper. They can plan the location of the bulbs, sketch it out and then mark it. This will make them feel creative and satisfied when the plan is finished! A few things to remember as you are planning:

  • The bulbs will be planted at a depth of three to four times their height.
  • In the spring, you will be letting the leaves wilt on their own and dry up. They shouldn’t be cut because the sunshine needs to replenish them!
  • If you mix short, tall and medium daffodils make sure they are planted with the taller ones in back so the little ones are not hidden.
  • They must have lots of sun in the spring, even if that spot is shady later in the summer.
  • If your bed in just bulbs right now, plan on planting other summer flowers when they fade. A flat of petunias would be great for this, mixed with dusty miller. They are easily planted in front the bulb leaves and you will have color for the rest of the summer. Simple plans are sometimes the best!

Planting your bulbs

When your bulbs arrive, or you buy them from the garden center, gather everyone together, hand out garden tools and start digging. Make sure the soil is loose and humus-rich. If the soil seems dry or a little hard, then add peat and/or manure you can purchase at the garden center.

Mix it in the soil until it’s loose and rich looking. Read the instructions on each bulb and plant at that depth. Dig your hole, place in your bulb and fill the hole back up with the soil.

After your bed is planted, water well and place about a two inch layer of mulch over the area. Mulch can be leaves that have been sitting and are moist and starting to decompose, wood chips or shredded wood, even grass clippings can be used! If you have a dry fall, it would help the flower bed if you would water now and then when it hasn’t rained.

There are many other bulbs you can plant to brighten your spring, but daffodils are simple, they multiply, and the squirrels and other rodents don’t seem to like the taste very well. In most cases, they should leave your bulbs alone, and in the spring you will have a flower bed full of welcoming sunny faces to greet you.

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