After months of harsh winter weather, I am desperate for flowers. And to my eyes, there’s nothing more satisfying than a meadow of daffodils: drifts of delicate blossoms, fluttering and dancing in the breeze, blooming in carefree abundance.
Daffodils are the best bulbs for naturalizing. They grow almost anywhere, multiply readily, and the bulbs are inexpensive. In a relatively short time, a hundred bulbs can become thousands, so even if you never plant another bulb, you’ll get a bigger and more impressive show of flowers each year.
In the photo above, you can see the sweeps of daffodils that greet me every spring. There are now thousands of them and with all the different types, I get to enjoy them for almost a month.
Since there’s such a wealth of flowers, I invite friends to come and cut as many as they want. I love watching them walk around cutting their own bouquets. Everyone loves daffodils.
Here are four tips to ensure your success when naturalizing daffodils:
CHOOSE SUITABLE LOCATIONS
Plant daffodils where they will get at least 4 hours of bright light each day. Since they bloom before deciduous trees leaf out, even a typically shady area can work just fine. Well-drained soil is best, but I’ve found daffodils will tolerate quite a bit of moisture. Possible locations include lawns, beside fences or stonewalls, under trees and shrubs, in woodlands, along hedgerows, pathways or roadways, along stream banks and ponds, in orchards and in meadows.
PLANT IN GROUPS
The easiest way to plant a lot of daffodils at once is to prep an area that’s at least a foot square and plant 5 or more bulbs at a time. To achieve a natural look, plant in irregular groups so there’s no sign of the gardener’s hand. The bulbs should look like they sprang up randomly. Plant a mix of early, mid and late season varieties so you get a nice long show.
LET THE FOLIAGE DIE BACK
Bulbs use their foliage to make the energy they need to form next year’s flowers. This is why it’s important to let bulb foliage die back naturally. It can take a month or two, but if the foliage is mowed down or cut back too quickly, the bulbs won’t have enough energy to flower and multiply.
CUT WITH ABANDON
Daffodils are wonderful cut flowers, and a naturalized planting will give you plenty for your home and to share with friends. If you cut some flowers that are open and some that are still in bud, your arrangements will last almost a week. If you want to mix daffodils with tulips or other spring flowers, first cut the daffodil stems to length and put them in a container of water for about 6 hours. This gets rid of most of the sap that would otherwise clog the stems of the other flowers.
Want to learn more about naturalizing daffodils and other spring bulbs? You may be interested in: Planting Fall Bulbs in a Meadow (VIDEO), How to Plant Daffodil Bulbs (VIDEO), Types of Daffodils to Know and Grow, Landscaping With Spring-Blooming Bulbs.