pixie perennials

gardening with perennials

Daffodils

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Bright yellow daffodils herald the arrival of spring. There are several names used to describe this genus: daffodil, narcissus, and jonquil just to name a few. They have trumpets surrounded by a ring of petals. The most common color for this bulb is yellow, but they range in color from white, to orange, to peach, to pink, to green. Many are fragrant, and used in flower arrangements. They prefer well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. Plant the bulbs in the fall, up to two weeks before frost for wonderful spring blooms. Great for naturalizing a woodland area. Deer avoid daffodils; they are poisonous.

Many people braid the foliage of the narcissus after the flower has passed to “tidy” it up, but it is best to let nature take its course. After flowering, bulbs rely on their leaves for photosynthesis. During the 5-6 weeks after the flower has faded, the bulb gathers and stores food for the following year. Remove faded blooms if they bother you, but leave the foliage to ensure a beautiful display of flowers the following spring. Once the leaves shrivel and brown, remove them with a slight tug. If not diseased, add to your compost pile.

Trivia: The Greek myth of Narcissus lends its name to the daffodil. Narcissus was so obsessed with the beauty of his own reflection that when he knelt to gaze into a pool of water, he fell in and drowned. The narcissus plant sprang from where he died.

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