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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
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Questions

  1. What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?
  2. What is a jonquil?
  3. How many kinds of daffodils are there?
  4. Will squirrels and other rodents eat daffodil bulbs?
  5. Are daffodils expensive?
  6. How long do daffodil bulbs last?
  7. How do daffodils multiply?
  8. How long is the flowering season of daffodils?
  9. What are miniature daffodils?
  10. Are daffodils difficult to grow?
  11. Can daffodils be grown throughout the United States?
  12. Will daffodils grow in the shade?
  13. Do ground covers have an adverse effect on daffodils?
  14. Why should I exhibit at daffodil shows?
  15. How can I learn more about daffodils at home?


What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?

None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the ADS at all times other than in scientific writing.

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What is a jonquil?

In some parts of the country any yellow daffodil is called a jonquil, usually incorrectly. As a rule, but not always, jonquil species and hybrids are characterized by several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage. The hybrids are confined to Division 7 and the term "jonquil" should be applied only to daffodils in Division 7 or species in Division 10 known to belong to the jonquil group.

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How many kinds of daffodils are there?

Botanists differ, but there are at least 25 species, some with a great many different forms, and several natural hybrids. In addition to the species, the current printout of the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids which are divided among the twelve divisions of the official classification.

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Will squirrels and other rodents eat daffodil bulbs?

No. The bulbs and leaves contain poisonous crystals which only certain insects can eat with impunity. They may, however, dig up the bulbs.

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Are daffodils expensive?

Bulbs are priced from around $1.00 up to about $100, depending on the newness or scarcity of a cultivar and not necessarily on its desirability. There are many prize-winning exhibition cultivars that can be bought for under $2.50. Cultivars for naturalizing cost even less, but mixtures of unnamed cultivars are not recommended.

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How long do daffodil bulbs last?

Under good growing conditions, they should outlast any of us. While some kinds of bulbs tend to dwindle and die out, daffodils should increase.

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How do daffodils multiply?

Daffodils multiply in two ways: asexual cloning (bulb division) where exact copies of the flower will result, and sexually (from seed) where new, different flowers will result.

Seeds develop in the seed pod (ovary), the swelling just behind the flower petals. Most often, after bloom the seed pod swells but it is empty of seed. Occasionally, wind or insects can pollinate the flower during bloom by bringing new pollen from another flower. When this happens, the seed pod will contain one or a few seeds. 

Daffodil hybridizers pollinate flowers by brushing pollen from one flower onto the stigma of another. Then the resulting seed pod can contain up to 25 seeds. Each of these will produce an entirely new plant - but the wait for a bloom for a plant grown from seed is about 5 years!

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How long is the flowering season of daffodils?

From six weeks to six months, depending on where you live and the cultivars you grow.  After blooming, let the daffodil plant rebuild its bulb for the next year. The leaves stay green while this is happening. When the leaves begin to yellow, then you can cut the leaves off but not before.

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What are miniature daffodils?

Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Largely for show purposes, but also for guidance in gardening, certain species and named cultivars have been determined by the ADS to be miniatures and must compete by themselves in daffodil shows. Current lists of miniatures are published in the Daffodil Journal or may be obtained separately from the ADS.

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Are daffodils difficult to grow?

No. They are probably the easiest and most dependable of all the families of flowers and ideal for a beginner in gardening in most regions of the United States.

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Can daffodils be grown throughout the United States?

Daffodils are quite tolerant of cold, especially with a covering of snow, and are grown to the Canadian border. The only exceptions are a few tender cultivars, usually tazettas, such as the popular Paper White. Daffodils can also be grown throughout the South with the exception of parts of Florida which are free of frost. A cold treatment—natural or induced—is needed for flower bud initiation. Along a narrow band adjoining the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas there are certain types and named cultivars which have been found to do better than others.

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Will daffodils grow in the shade?

They will grow in the shade of deciduous trees because they have finished flowering and the foliage has begun to mature by the time deciduous trees leaf out. However, it is better to grow them outside the drip line of deciduous trees rather than under them. Also, deciduous trees with tap roots are preferable to shallow-rooted trees. Daffodils will not long survive under evergreen trees and shrubs.

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Do ground covers have an adverse effect on daffodils?

The two will be competing for nutrients and moisture, so the answer depends on the fertility of the soil and the aggressiveness of the ground cover. Vigorous, tall-growing, and deeply rooting plants, such as pachysandra and ivy, are likely to discourage daffodils, but they will usually do well in the company of shallow-rooted, trailing plants, such as myrtle, foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), or creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).

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Why should I exhibit at daffodil shows?

For the satisfaction of helping to present to the public and other gardeners an outstanding display of a flower whose variety and merits are too little known. A show will also give you a chance to see blooms of the newer cultivars and to become acquainted with others who share your interest in daffodils. Eventually your skill may be recognized by awards and you may wish to take the courses and examinations which would qualify you as an Accredited Judge.

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How can I learn more about daffodils at home?

A good start is to join the NCDS and the American Daffodil Society. Also, carefully read The Daffodil Journal, published by the American Daffodil Society and borrowing books on daffodils from the Society's library. There are a number of round robins available to join, each consisting of ten members who contribute in turn, letters relating their experiences and discussing problems which they have encountered or which others have raised. A Daffodil Internet discussion forum known as DAFFNET, can be easily accessed by following the steps outlined on the web site you will see by clicking on the word DAFFNET.

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