Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the
difference between daffodils and narcissus?
- What is a
- How many kinds of
daffodils are there?
- Will squirrels and
other rodents eat daffodil bulbs?
- Are daffodils
- How long do daffodil
- How do daffodils
- How long is the
flowering season of daffodils?
- What are miniature
daffodils difficult to grow?
- Can daffodils be
grown throughout the United States?
- Will daffodils grow
in the shade?
- Do ground covers have an
adverse effect on daffodils?
- Why should I exhibit at
- How can I learn more
about daffodils at home?
None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the
Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the
common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the ADS
at all times other than in scientific writing.
In some parts of the country any yellow daffodil is called
a jonquil, usually incorrectly. As a rule, but not always, jonquil species and hybrids are
characterized by several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage. The hybrids
are confined to Division 7 and the term "jonquil" should be applied only to
daffodils in Division 7 or species in Division 10 known to belong to the jonquil group.
Back to Top
Botanists differ, but there are at least 25 species, some
with a great many different forms, and several natural hybrids. In addition to the
species, the current printout of the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids which
are divided among the twelve divisions of the official classification.
Back to Top
Will squirrels and other
rodents eat daffodil bulbs?
No. The bulbs and leaves contain poisonous
crystals which only certain insects can eat with impunity. They may, however, dig up the
Back to Top
Bulbs are priced from around $1.00 up to about $100,
depending on the newness or scarcity of a cultivar and not necessarily on its
desirability. There are many prize-winning exhibition cultivars that can be bought for
under $2.50. Cultivars for naturalizing cost even less, but mixtures of unnamed cultivars
are not recommended.
Back to Top
Under good growing conditions, they should outlast any of
us. While some kinds of bulbs tend to dwindle and die out, daffodils should increase.
Back to Top
How do daffodils multiply?
Daffodils multiply in two ways: asexual cloning (bulb division)
where exact copies of the flower will result, and sexually (from seed) where new,
different flowers will result.
Seeds develop in the seed pod (ovary), the swelling just behind the
flower petals. Most often, after bloom the seed pod swells but it is empty of seed.
Occasionally, wind or insects can pollinate the flower during bloom by bringing new pollen
from another flower. When this happens, the seed pod will contain one or a few
Daffodil hybridizers pollinate flowers by brushing pollen from one
flower onto the stigma of another. Then the resulting seed pod can contain up to 25 seeds.
Each of these will produce an entirely new plant - but the wait for a bloom for a plant
grown from seed is about 5 years!
Back to Top
How long is the flowering
season of daffodils?
From six weeks to six months, depending on where you live
and the cultivars you grow. After blooming, let the
daffodil plant rebuild its bulb for the next year. The leaves stay green while this is
happening. When the leaves begin to yellow, then you can cut the leaves off but not
What are miniature daffodils?
Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot
stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Largely for show purposes, but also for
guidance in gardening, certain species and named cultivars have been determined by the ADS
to be miniatures and must compete by themselves in daffodil shows. Current lists of
miniatures are published in the Daffodil Journal or may be obtained separately from the
No. They are probably the easiest and most
dependable of all the families of flowers and ideal for a beginner in gardening in most
regions of the United States.
Can daffodils be grown
throughout the United States?
Daffodils are quite tolerant of cold, especially with a
covering of snow, and are grown to the Canadian border. The only exceptions are a few
tender cultivars, usually tazettas, such as the popular Paper White. Daffodils can also be
grown throughout the South with the exception of parts of Florida which are free of frost.
A cold treatmentnatural or inducedis needed for flower bud initiation. Along a
narrow band adjoining the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas there are certain types and
named cultivars which have been found to do better than others.
They will grow in the shade of deciduous trees because they
have finished flowering and the foliage has begun to mature by the time deciduous trees
leaf out. However, it is better to grow them outside the drip line of deciduous trees
rather than under them. Also, deciduous trees with tap roots are preferable to
shallow-rooted trees. Daffodils will not long survive under evergreen trees and shrubs.
Do ground covers have an adverse
effect on daffodils?
The two will be competing for nutrients and moisture, so
the answer depends on the fertility of the soil and the aggressiveness of the ground
cover. Vigorous, tall-growing, and deeply rooting plants, such as pachysandra and ivy, are
likely to discourage daffodils, but they will usually do well in the company of
shallow-rooted, trailing plants, such as myrtle, foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), or
creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).
Why should I exhibit at
For the satisfaction of helping to present to the public
and other gardeners an outstanding display of a flower whose variety and merits are too
little known. A show will also give you a chance to see blooms of the newer cultivars and
to become acquainted with others who share your interest in daffodils. Eventually your
skill may be recognized by awards and you may wish to take the courses and examinations
which would qualify you as an Accredited Judge.
How can I learn more about
daffodils at home?
A good start is to join the NCDS and the American
Daffodil Society. Also, carefully read The Daffodil Journal, published by the American
Daffodil Society and borrowing books on daffodils from the Society's library. There are a
number of round robins available to join, each consisting of ten members who contribute in
turn, letters relating their experiences and discussing problems which they have
encountered or which others have raised. A Daffodil Internet discussion forum known as
DAFFNET, can be easily accessed by following the steps outlined on the web site you will
see by clicking on the word DAFFNET.