The daffodils are in bloom at Oakland, bringing cheerful color to the late winter landscape. To coincide with our annual Daffodil Days celebration, we’re featuring Daffodils in American Gardens: 1733 – 1940. This engaging book by Atlanta resident and former Daffodil Society President Sara Van Beck reveals the story of the daffodil here in America and is a must for anyone interested in historic daffodils or garden history.
Here Sara shares with us her top five tips for growing daffodils successfully in the Atlanta area:
Sunlight is critical – All daffodils require a minimum of six hours of full sun for optimal growth and blooming. Once the trees leaf out, dappled shade in the afternoon helps counteract late spring heatwaves.
Foliage – Do not cut or tie! No sunlight on leaves means no growth and that means poor flowering the next season. If you don’t like looking at the leaves later in the season, plant some annuals nearby to look at instead. After the bulb blooms, the leaves must regenerate the bulb for next season; if you prevent that by bundling the leaves or cutting them off, you prevent the bulb from storing energy for next season’s bloom.
Water – Daffodils love water when growing and in bloom. One inch of water a week is ideal. After they bloom, you can taper off the water. Stop watering when the foliage starts to yellow for the bulbs going dormant.
Soil – Good drainage is essential for modern daffodils. Dormant bulbs that stay too wet in the summer will quickly rot.
Summer dry spell – The reason daffodils do so well in the South is they don’t mind our summer droughts – in fact, they prefer them. Most spring bulbs will rot in garden soil that is too damp over the summer. Hyacinths and tulips will rot first, then daffodils.