Using Daffodils

Plant daffodils in groupings or clumps. They look great massed in lawns or beds, arrayed along borders, grouped informally in rock gardens, in front of shrubs or in perennial beds. “Naturalize” them by scattering the bulbs informally over the planting area, then plant them where they fall. As they multiply over the years they will form a blanket of bloom in fields and woodland areas. Plant them among evergreen ground covers and later-blooming flowers that will obscure their dying foliage. Try them with peonies, phlox, painted daisies, daylilies, tall yarrows, aconites, hostas, artemisia, or Sedum spectabile--all medium-to-tall perennials that set off the shorter daffodils.

Cutting/Displaying Indoors
Daffodils make wonderful bouquets that bring spring into the house. Display them alone or combined with other spring flowers such as tulips and forsythia. Take care to avoid getting their viscous sap on your skin because it sometimes causes dermatitis.
Cut new, barely opened flowers for indoor display in the early morning, with a clean, sharp knife. Recut their ends immediately at a sharp angle, then plunge them into a pail of warm water to which about a half-teaspoon of household bleach per quart has been added to maintain flower freshness over the next few days. Let them sit in a cool, dark room for several hours or overnight. Rinse them before you arrange them for display. Flowers will last 4 to 6 days. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies

Daffodils can be “forced” to bloom indoors well ahead of their outdoor timetable. In the fall choose shallow clay pots or other broad containers that won't topple over easily. Put 1 inch layer of broken crocking or pebbles mixed with a little peat moss (for drainage and water absorption) in the bottom. Add a 1-inch layer of mixed sand, loam and peat, then place as many daffodil bulbs as the pot can comfortably hold permitting their sides to touch. Point the bulb tips upward.

Cover the bulbs with good soilless potting mix up to 1/2 inch above their tips. Then place the pots for 10 to 13 weeks in the garage or basement, or wherever it's dark and the temperature is 40°F so their roots can develop. Keep the soil moist. If storage space is limited, set the pots outside in a cold frame, or sink the pots in the ground and keep them covered with mulch to protect them from freezing.

After this cold treatment, bring them inside and they will bloom in 3 to 4 weeks. Some good varieties for forcing include: ‘King Alfred’, ‘Beersheba’, ‘Golden Harvest’, ‘Rembrandt’, and ‘Mount Hood’. There are many more. After they bloom, forced bulbs can be planted outdoors for spring bloom the following year.

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