Let’s Learn About Daffodils

When you think of a daffodil you probably think of the traditional yellow trumpet variety. This variety of this common bulb is by far the most common. However, if you love daffodils, you will be delighted to learn that there are many easy to grow and beautiful daffodil varieties available. Let’s look at just a few of them.

Trumpet Daffodil

These daffodils are by far the most common. The trumpet on these flowers is longer than the overall length of the leaves. This results in a strong and noticeable contrast between the two. There are all yellow trumpet daffodils which have yellow petals and a yellow trumpet. You will also find bi- color trumpets. These flowers have petals in one color and a trumpet in another.

Large and Small Cupped Daffodil

These daffodils are similar in appearance to the traditional trumpet daffodils. However, there is a little variation when it comes to the size of the trumpet in the center. With the large cupped daffodils as the name implies, the center is wider and shorter. Conversely, the small cupped daffodils have a short, small center trumpet. These daffodils are just as beautiful as their more famous siblings and can add a distinct and beautiful look to any garden.

Double Daffodils

With double daffodils, there are multiple layers of either petals, trumpet or both. These flowers are very unique and dramatic looking. If you want daffodils, but are looking for a real conversation piece, these are the flowers for you.

Split Cupped Daffodil

These daffodils don’t posses the traditional, daffodil looking cup. Rather, they almost look like one flower resting a top another. These unique flowers are stunningly beautiful and come in both straight and ruffled varieties.

These are just a few of the many daffodil varieties out there. You will also find miniature daffodils, clustered daffodil and more. Many of these varieties have several available colors of flowers as well. If you love daffodils, don’t just limit yourself to traditional yellow ones. Try some of these fun varieties and add some excitement to your flowerbeds next spring.

Planting bulbs now brings rewards later

Fall is the time to plant bulbs. A small investment of time now will pay off in huge dividends in the Spring, and far into the future. I have great respect for homeowners who take the time to plant fall bulbs, because it involves some careful forethought. It is also demonstrates patience in that the reward for the work comes months later, and not instantly. Surprisingly, most people will not take the time to plant bulbs because of the absence of “instant gratification.” (stay with me folks, there’s a “life” lesson in your future) But first, let’s look at the planting criteria for bulbs.

It’s really a very simple process. First off, the soil needs to be in the range of 55-60 degrees (that’s now if you live in the Midwest). This is the optimum temperature to stimulate the newly planted bulbs to begin to “root,” but not so cold as to freeze them prematurely.

I like to plant my bulbs using a paddle-bit for an electric drill. I find that the 1.5″ bit makes the perfect sized hole for a standard tulip bulb, and makes a clean hole fast.

You should follow the planting directions that come with the bulbs you purchase, but the standard depth for tulips is usually 6″. Place a piece of tape on the shaft of the bit at the 6″ mark to gauge your depth with drilling. Once you drill the hole, be sure to place the bulb in right side up (see pictures) and use the shaft of an old hammer to gently push the bulb to the base of the hole. Next, cover with some top soil and mulch…finish by watering them thoroughly.

As I stated above, planting bulbs, in my opinion, is the mark of the mature and wise gardener. Tulips and other bulbs are interesting because they “naturalize” or spread over time. Most species of tulips naturalize-when unaffected by rodents- via underground stems called stolons, or daughter bulbs. The new naturalized plants are usually identical to the parent plant.

Planting 20 or 30 bulbs now will bring 20 or 30 beautiful early Spring flowers, but the next year, the numbers will double, and grow exponentially year-after-year.

The Life Lesson:

I have noticed something similar with my kids. There are small bits or “bulbs” of wisdom that I’ve buried into them that seem useless to them at the time, but as they have aged, those bits of wisdom naturalized and are now producing some positive outcomes.

A simple, but important one would be how to properly shake a man’s hand. I taught my boys at the ages of 6 and 7 how to properly shake hands: firm grip, stiff arm, look the man in the eye, etc. When the boys were very young, it was kind of a joke to them when they’d practice what I taught them. However, now that they are teenagers, the skill has naturalized and is now second “nature” to them, and they shake hands like men. I can only wonder if as they become adults, the difference between them getting a good job or not will be in the way they shake the interviewer’s hand. It will be interesting to see this one naturalize exponentially over time.

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