Narcissus (Daffodil)

Narcissus (Daffodil)

Daffodil (Narcissus)

The beautiful daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus and they are one of the prettiest and most popular bulb flowers. The daffodils are also referred as jonquil and white narcissi. The daffodil symbolizes birth and new beginnings as it is one of the very first flowers to emerge in early spring, marking the end of winter. The center of the daffodil is trumpet-shaped and the petals are star-shaped. Often the trumpet is a contrasting color to the star. Daffodils grow to around 14 inches tall and have blooms that are five inches in diameter.

Daffodils come in a variety of color combinations, but most daffodils are yellow with different shades of yellow and white as contrast. There is a miniature variety of daffodils that grow just two inches tall and are ideal for growing in containers inside the home.
Cultivation: Daffodil bulbs should be planted in the ground in the autumn when the grounds have cooled, in some climates September is ideal and for regions with warmer summers plant the bulbs in November. Select a well-drained and sunny place. Raised beds and hillsides are ideal as drainage is the key to success with daffodils. Spade at least twelve inches deep and improve the clay using compost, soil amendment or planting mix, being sure to raise the bed. A soil that is slightly acidic is best so that soil sulfur can be added if the planting area happens to have an alkaline soil.
When planting the bulbs, place them in the ground so that the pointed end is twice as deep as the bulb is high. In sandy soil, plant bulbs a bit deeper. Daffodils require a lot of water as they grow, so water soon after planting and keep them moist in the case of little rain. Once the flowers have bloomed, continue to water for three weeks and then cease. After flowering, the bulbs create their next year's bloom. Daffodils may remain in the ground for three to five years.
Once the flowers have bloomed, do not cut the foilage until it begins to turn yellow, which is normally in late May or early June. This is when you should dig them up and wash the bulbs in cool water and allow them to dry for at least one week. Place the clean bulbs in onion bags and hang them in a cool location until planting time.
Propagation: Daffodils can be propagated both sexually and asexually. With sexual propagation, obtain seeds and plant them in protected areas such as a greenhouse. When the bulbs form they can be planted outdoors or in pots. Due to the timely process, this type of propagation is seldom used by growers.
The daffodil can be propagated asexually by division of basal sections, stem bulblets and offsets. There are four methods to do basal sections propagation: scooping, scoring, coring and sectioning. The scooping method involves scooping out the entire basal plate and plant it in the fall. The flower bud that is located at the center of the bulb is removed, which exposes the leaf bases. This is where bulblets will grow.
To propagate using the stem bulblet method, the bulbils that grow on the stem of the daffodil can be peeled off and planted.
Offsets are the bulbs that are produced as tiny bulbs that grow on the stems of the main bulb. These offsets can be cut off the main bulb and planted in the ground in the fall season in moist and slightly acidic soil. Flowers will be produced within a few years with this method.
Varieties: There are a staggering number of varieties of daffodils, so they have been divided into twelve distinct classifications. Each daffodil's classification is based on its description and size. The description refers to the petal color and cup color. The classifications consist of: trumpet daffodils, large-cupped daffodils, small-cupped daffodils, double daffodils, triandrus daffodils, cyclamineus daffodils, jonquilla daffodils, tazetta daffodils, poeticus daffodils, bulbocodium hybrids, split-corona daffodils and others (varieties not falling into the previous classifications).
Disease and Cure: Daffodils are subject to a variety of diseases including basal rot, blackrot, blue mold and crown rot. Bacteria and certain plant pathogenic nematodes can also cause blotchy patches and a spongy decay of the bulbs.
In order to avoid bulb rots, bulbs should be purchased from a reliable source as cheap bulbs are not always the best to buy. Using crop rotation in flower beds will ensure that pathogens do not build up to dangerous levels and avoid using excess amounts of organic matter or nitrogen and phosphorous.

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