With their nodding blooms, daffodils are the very essence of spring. Much loved for their sunny yellow hues, they offer pretty colour variations too, such as soft lemon or apricot-pink cups set against paler petals.
How to grow
While spring bulbs won’t flower in heavily shaded areas, daffodils will bloom in filtered light, such as under lightly branched trees. However, avoid dense shade, or they won't flower, opt for either full sun or semi-shade.
The golden flowers are best suited to cooler districts in the southern states of Australia. In warm climates, it's best to plant the bulbs at double the recommended depth.
Daffodils ideally need good-quality free-draining soil, so when planting, try to dig in a whole lot of organic matter. Surprisingly these hardy plants are adaptable to most types of soil, except wet. A tip to remember when planting is to plant twice as deep as the width of the bulb.
Water should be reliable during foliage and flower growth, and then as the foliage starts to die back, stop for the season. Natural rainfall should be enough but during dry spells in autumn and late spring, keep them moist.
Feed them with complete fertiliser when the flowers are open, as this feeds the bulb for the following year's flower. But as the buds begin to develop, switch to a liquid feed with seaweed or organic products.
After enjoying the display of flowering daffodils, it’s worth keeping the bulbs to try for a repeat show next year. Leave the foliage to die back naturally, watering only sparingly, then lift the bulbs and store them inside a mesh bag, in an airy, dark spot. The bulbs can then be planted out into the garden, or into pots, during autumn – April and May are the best months.
Where to plant daffodils in your garden
The great thing about daffodils is that they grow well in both pots or as mass drifts in garden beds beneath plants like roses or between perennials. Plant them in masse under deciduous trees like flowering cherries, and you will see them grow beautifully. If not, border planting is another excellent option as they will receive adequate summer shade.
How to grow daffodils in pots
Bulbs grow well in pots, creating wonderful seasonal displays for balconies and verandahs. You can either opt for a one-flower look or create a mini potted garden in a large container, using different varieties. To achieve the latter, plant the bulbs in layers within the pot, according to their preferred planting depths. Ensure the container has drainage holes and always use a good-quality, free-draining potting mix.
Tips for potted bulb displays – you will need regular watering during warm spring weather to keep the blooms hydrated. Lift the pot onto the ground and watch for the water to run through the base.
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