Local Master Gardener Celebrates Daffodils
What is more cheerful than the daffodils that start to show in our hills just before spring? If you haven’t grown any for yourself because of predation or maintenance concerns, there’s good news. Due to natural toxins in the plants (lycorine and oxalates), rodents and deer leave them alone. Growing daffodils is nearly goof-prof and very easy. Here are some basics.
There is a little timing involved in getting the varieties and results you want. Now (late March) is a good time to order from daffodil catalogs. Ordering bulbs early will give you the pick of the crop. You will receive your bulbs sometime in September. If you get your bulbs from colder climates, refrigerate them for a few weeks before planting. The time for planting is around mid to late November. Hillsides or raised beds are best since drainage is key. Spade 12 inches deep. Slightly acid soil works best and you can use a little Ironite (TM) if you have alkaline soil. Plant bulbs about 6 inches deep, or a depth twice the size of the bulb, and plant them pointed side up. The winter rains should do the rest, but if the winter is dry, water about once a week or so.
But what about planting in pots to decorate your patio? If you don’t mind fussing a little more, you can have good results with this. Try to plant the bulbs about 1/3 of the way from the top of the pot. If you plant too close to the surface, the new roots will push the bulbs above the ground. Place 3 to 4 average-sized bulbs in a 2-gallon pot. If the bulbs are on the small side, maybe plant 5 bulbs. After the 1st of November, heavily water the pots as it takes time for the peat moss in the super soil to completely saturate. Water every day for the first week.
For more details, visit the sites below. The Northern California Daffodil Society provides excellent information. Happy Daffodilling!
Wendy Kubow is a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener of Calaveras County. Gardeners from Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties can answer home gardening questions, call 209-533-5912 Fill out our easy-to-use problem questionnaire here. Check out our website here, You can also find us on Facebook.