The names daffodil, jonquil, and narcissus are used interchangeably. The genus name (botanical name) is Narcissus. This group of plants have been classified further into thirteen divisions by daffodil aficionados. The groups are distinguished primarily by the size and proportion of the flower parts. Some of the most popular groups are Jonquil, Tazetta, Poets, Species daffodils, and the Large-flowered daffodils. Contact your local Extention Service Agent or the Daffodil Society to get recommended varieties for your area.
Most of us look at pictures to choose our daffodils. We look at the colors and size of the blooms, as we pick out bulbs to plant. Another characteristic we don’t want to overlook is that most daffodils have a delightful fragrance. The Poets and Tazetta daffodils are intensely fragrant. To extend the blooming season, you can plan ahead by getting a bulb catalogue. A good bulb catalogue will have information on the bloom time. Some varieties bloom early, some bloom mid spring, and some late spring. The catalogue will also give you the details of hardiness, size, and color of bloom.
These bulbs are planted in the fall. Roots grow from the bottom of the bulb as the weather cools. Some may show green leaves in the winter. This is ok. They will not freeze to death and will bloom in time. It is recommended that the bulbs be planted in a well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. Daffodils can be planted under deciduous trees as they bloom before the tree leafs out. They do not do well in a wet soil, the bulbs may rot.
After the flower fades, new gardeners ask what now? Remove the dead flowers so they do not go to seed. Leave the green leaves until they turn brown, then they may be removed. This allows the green leaves to continue to photosynthesize and build up the bulb for next years’ bloom. Planting summer or fall perennials between your clumps of bulbs can hide the browning spring foliage.
A common question regarding daffodils is “Can I plant the potted daffodils which I received as a gift and expect them to bloom next year?” The answer is maybe! If you got these flowers in the spring, you most likely can plant them out. Cut off the flower, plant deeply with some bone meal mixed in the soil, leaving the foliage until it turns brown.
However, if the flowers came from the florist at another time of year, they have probably been forced and expecting them to come back next spring is not likely. If the foliage comes back, fertilize with 10-10-10 and perhaps you will get blooms next year. Another important factor is that you do not know if these bulbs will survive in your locale.