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Plant of the week: Daffodils

Daffodils are one of the most common spring flowers seen in gardens across the country. In May, daffodils thrive in New England with the coming of warm weather after being planted in the fall. Their bright yellow color and short height make them ideal for not only flower beds but short front yards as well.

Ironically, daffodils were originally weeds. It was the English who took them out of weeded pastures and planted them in their gardens back in the 1600s. Many European gardens only favored vegetables. Daffodils became one of the few actual garden flowers along with peonies and hyacinths. It wasn’t until America began expanding West that daffodils became wildly popular. Since then, gardeners haven’t looked back and this uplifting flower has become a symbol of spring.

If you missed out on planting daffodil bulbs in the fall, you can start your own indoors and eventually transfer them into your garden. Jump start your summer by savoring the end of spring with your own daffodils.

Daffodil Q&A

1. What should I look for when shopping for daffodil bulbs?

Make sure the bulbs aren’t dry. Dry bulbs that haven’t been taken care of will yield a less healthy plant. To ensure a bigger bloom next spring, look for large bulbs. New bulbs only need to be planted every 2-3 seasons.

2. How do I start my daffodils indoors?

Begin by planting each bulb in a 6-8” wide pot in well drained soil. Store the pots in a refrigerator with an average temperature between 38 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight weeks. Once the roots have been established and you begin to see growth from the top of the soil, you can relocate your plants out of the refrigerator. Allow them to adjust to room temperature for 2-4 weeks before moving them outside.

3. Should I fertilize my daffodils?

You can lightly fertilize the soil when originally planting the bulbs, then fertilize once more as your daffodils begin to sprout above the soil. Fertilizing isn’t necessary if you plant your bulbs in rich soil.

4. Are daffodils prone to any pests or diseases?

Daffodils do not suffer from any plant diseases and they belong to the Narcissus family of flowers, meaning animals dislike their taste.

5. How do I store my bulbs for next season?

After your flowers have bloomed and withered, you can dig up the bulbs and store them until you are ready to replant them in the fall. Only keep healthy bulbs and discard bulbs with any sign of rotting. Brush off the dirt and allow the bulbs to air dry for 2-3 hours prior to storing. Place the bulbs in a mesh bag and keep them in a cool, dark location until you are ready to reuse them. Until then, enjoy the summer season!

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