Latin Name: Narcissus, various spp.
Common Name: Daffodils, Jonquils, Narcissus
Mature Height (ft): 4-24"
Mature Width: 2-4"

Mature Shape

Mulch: Organic or inorganic.

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Daffodils are the most notable of the spring bulbs. Reliable from year to year, daffodils can be depended upon to bloom even when faced with late season blizzards and are unpalatable to deer and squirrels. Daffodils aren't too particular about soil, but do better in amended soil, planted about 4 inches deep in October to December. Typical bloom times are February through April, depending on the variety, and there are thousands of varieties to choose from. The genus Narcissus is a member of the Amaryllis family and is so large, it's divided into thirteen divisions or classifications recognized by the American Daffodil Society and the Royal Horticultural Society. Typical colors are yellow, gold, white, cream, peach, pink and yellow-orange either solidly or in combination.

A good daffodil bulb size are the #2 double-nose or bedding size, (#1 is for exhibition growing) or #3 rounds for landscape naturalizing. Acutal bulb sizes vary from the largest trumpet daffodil at 16-20 cm. down to the miniatures, as small as 7-8 cm. Choose daffodil varieties by desired size, color and bloom time. There are daffodils for every landscape plan. In the Texas Panhandle, I find it best to choose later blooming varieties to try to avoid early emergence and damage by late snows (often they will still bloom even lying flat), or hedge all bets and choose a number of varieties that bloom early, mid and late spring. With over 30,000 registered varieties, choose what catches your fancy and pocketbook. Daffodils of the large and small-cupped, doubles, tazetta, jonquilla, cyclamineus, triandus, miniature and poeticus classifications will generally come back year to year with proper care.

Read the Daffodil Series, three Garden Notes articles on Daffodils:

First in the Daffodil series, The World's Most Popular Spring Flower -- Daffodils


The second article in the Daffodil Series, Daffodil Organization, that explains the 13 divisions and code system that govern the thousands of registered cultivars.


And read the third article in the Daffodil Series, Growing Daffodils in the Texas Panhandle, tips and ideas to increase your success in growing daffodils.


Use in Garden

Daffodils fill in spots where summer and fall perennials emerge later in the year. They are welcome in rock gardens, xeric gardens and just about any flower bed and mixed border.


Allow daffodil leaves to die back naturally for 6 weeks after flowering, usually sometime in June. Do not roll up the leaves, allow them to soak in sun for next year's blooms. Daffodils can be moved anytime after blooming, even before the leaves die back, do not cut them off. Heel them in the ground temporarily or plant them into their new home. Divide the offsets and clean. Either store and plant later in fall, usually late October to November or replant after dividing.