Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Aspen Orton
As I was letting my dogs outside this weekend I noticed two things. One, I had forgotten my shoes; and two, next to my cold bare feet were a few little green shoots sneaking up in the dirt. Oh my joy was boundless! What were these sweet little soldiers I asked? After a quick Google search and some help from my grandmother I learned that these early bloomers (pun intended) were daffodils.
Daffodils are one of the most varied flowers on our planet, especially in America. Depending on which botanist you talk to there are between 40 and 200 different daffodil species, subspecies or varieties of species and over 25,000 hybrids! Daffodils come in all shapes and sizes; from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems; from sunshine yellow to delicate light purple, daffodils have a little something for everyone.
Where climate is moderate, kind of like Utah, daffodils flourish among the first of the early spring buds. Daffodils are constantly recurring flowers, or perennials, meaning the bulbs rebuild underneath the soil during the cold season for the next year. As daffodils are fighters, under good growing conditions they can live for years, maybe even outlasting yourself. Many spring bulbs tend to die out, but daffodils increase and multiply over the years, making them a reliable boost to the spirits when the chill just doesn’t want to leave yet.
The flowering season for daffodils is six weeks to six months, depending on where you live; for our purposes, here in Utah bulbs happen to last between 3 and 4 months. Daffodils often grow in large clusters, covering flower beds and even entire forest floors in seas of yellow. It is no small wonder that daffodils are known for symbolizing friendship, the sight of one of their cheerful faces or even the early splendor of their shoots can bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Here are some steps to growing and maintaining daffodils:
- Plant your daffodils so that the pointed end of the bulb is at least two times as deep as the bulb is high.
- Daffodils need lots of water while they are growing.
- After blooming, don’t cut the foliage until they begin to turn yellow which is usually late May or June, then you can dig them up.
- Wash the bulbs thoroughly and let them dry completely.
- Store the bulbs in as cool a place as you can find, preferably a place with good air flow.
- Enjoy their beauty year after year!