As the garden wakes up after its winter rest there are few more cheering sights than a display of daffodils ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’. Botanically known as Narcissus, daffodils are also known as jonquils and as the Lent Lily. Immortalised in myths and poems, they are synonymous with spring and symbolise new beginnings.
There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from; some start flowering in late winter and others through into late spring. Although most are yellow, they are available in white, orange and pink, as well as two-coloured varieties, and single as well as double-flowers.
Daffodils are versatile and very easy to care for, requiring little effort after planting in autumn. Best grown in sun or light shade, they’re not fussy about the type of soil, providing it isn’t waterlogged. They should be left in the ground and will develop into large bold clumps, although they will benefit from dividing after a few years.
Daffodils naturalise well, planted in drifts in the lawn, in borders or grown under trees or shrubs. Shorter-stemmed varieties look great grown in containers or hanging baskets.
You can start deadheading as soon as the flowers have faded, but leave the flower stems and leaves to die down naturally as the bulbs need the leaves to feed them.
Narcissus ‘Replete’ is a peachy-pink double-flowered daffodil with eye-catching ruffles, which grows up to 45cm tall.
Narcissus Papyraceus (Paper-white) are primarily grown for their pure-white flowers with yellow stamens and sweet scent for indoor arrangements but will survive outdoors in mild areas and sheltered spots (40cm tall). Narcissus ‘Jetfire’ is shorter-stemmed at 20cm, and has bright yellow petals with a bright orange trumpet.
Whichever variety is chosen they should provide you with many years of enjoyment.