In mid to late summer the bulb catalogues arrive and I begin to plan my bulb order. The local garden centers and big box stores will carry a nice assortment of bulbs but if I want something a little different I order from a catalogue. The thought of daffodils (aka narcissus) coming up in spring motivates me to try some new ones each year. With a little bit of planning I can have a long daffodil season and enjoy a variety of shapes and colors.
Here are my 5 top daffodil picks. None of these are hard to find on the internet or in catalogues but they do offer something a little different than what you find in you local stores.
Yellow Hoop Petticoat (Narcissus bulbocodium conspicuous)
You may not even recognize that this is a daffodil; the petals have been reduced in size and twisted so the flower is more cup than petals. The mass of golden yellow flowers standing above the grass-like foliage is definitely a show-stopper.
Four inch flowers boast creamy white petals around a broad, frilled, chartreuse yellow cup that matures to almost white. ‘Ice Follies’ is known for naturalizing and being a long term perennial but is also a good forcer.
Mid to late
Delicate clusters of pale canary yellow flowers with swept back petals have the added bonus of being fragrant. An heirloom cultivar, ‘Hawera’ thrives in semi-shady areas where it easily naturalizes and is also a good forcer.
As the name implies ‘Little Gem’ is a miniature narcissus. It has golden yellow petals with a darker trumpet, looking just like the ‘big boys’ but much smaller. Plant it in a rock garden and they will charm you with their early appearance when little else is blooming there.
Mid to Late
Bearing up to 3-5 nodding pure white flowers per stem, this provides a “big bang for the buck”. The fragrant flowers have recurved petals and cup-shaped crowns giving them a look that earned them the name “Orchid Narcissus”. ‘Thalia’ will bloom well in sun or part shade and naturalize well.
When ordering, I deal with established companies like John Scheepers, Van Engelen, or Brent and Becky’s, that carry large sized healthy bulbs so that I get a good show in spring and have a better chance of seeing my bulbs naturalize and persist into the future. Bulbs vary in price but the better companies have better quality for the higher price and daffodil bulbs are an investment in the future not just a one shot deal.