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How to Plant March Daffodils -- in the Autumn Time

Updated on February 4, 2014
How to Plant March Daffodils
How to Plant March Daffodils | Source

Daffodils Are the Flower of March!

March is a time of spring and renewal, and everyone looks forward to seeing the tips of the bulb plants poking up through ground that was previously covered in snow. Though the crocus may be more associated with spring in some areas than daffodils are, these beautiful white, yellow and orange flowers are a wonderful sign that the seasons are changing. Hardy and perennial, these flowers make a good choice for people who like to see their flowers year after year and for several weeks out of the season. Daffodils may bloom for up to sixty days!

Officially, the flower of March is the jonquil, a particular type of daffodil (narcissus flower).

Beautiful bed of yellow daffodils.
Beautiful bed of yellow daffodils. | Source

Daffodil Quiz

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The Narcissus Flower, Commonly Known as Daffodils

Daffodil is the common name for a flower known in Latin as Narcissus. The Narcissus comes in several varieties, but the most common variety seen in the United States is the traditional yellow daffodil that is so strongly associated with spring. These traditional blooms can be viewed in the photograph to the right (click to enlarge or start a slide show).

The Narcissus is part of the family of Amaryllis flowers, some of which are popular around the holiday times because of a variety with large red blooms which otherwise strongly resembles the daffodil, with its gorgeous yellow trumpet.

These flowers aren't native in the North American Wild, and are common in Europe, North Africa and West Asia.

Although the flowers bear the same name as the Narcissus of Greek Myth who drowned staring at his own reflection in the pool, there probably isn't any connection between the myth and the name of the flower.

Daffodils may be grown in the UK and the U.S. in spite of their having origins outside of these countries, so by all means, if you enjoy them, plant them!

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Daffodils Are Grown from Bulbs

Daffodils originate as flower bulbs. For this reason, they are planted differently than planting flowers from seeds, and care should be taken to understand the timing in which to plant your bulbs and what to do with them during the off-season.

Thankfully, while bulbs may be considered to require more work than seed planing, Daffodils give such a tremendous yield that they make the work that goes into planting (and digging them up) worth every effort worthwhile.

Daffodil Bulbs
Daffodil Bulbs | Source
Division 1
One flower per stem, cup is at least as long as petals.
Division 2
Long Cup
One flower per stem, cup at least 1/3 the length of the petals, but up to petal length
Division 3
Short Cup
One flower per stem, cup no more than 1/3 the height of the petals
Division 4
Flower has a clustered cup, petals or both. One or more flowers per stem.
Division 5
More than one flower per stem, drooping head with reflexed, silky petals
Division 6
One flower per stem, reflexed petals, straight and narrow cup
Division 7
Several flowers to a stem, fragrant flowers
Division 8
Multiple flowers to thick stem, sweet scented with a very short cup. Rounded and crinkled petals
Division 9
One flower to a stem, white petals with colored cup
Division 10
Split Corona
Cup is split, usually for at least 1/3 of its length. Cup is generally bi-colored.
Division 11
Other Cultivars
Any daffodil not in the previous categories.
Division 12
Wild Daffodils
White and Yellow Daffodil
White and Yellow Daffodil | Source

Plant Your Daffodil Bulbs in the Fall

Daffodils should be planted in the fall, some time between September and November. When planted during these months you will have early spring flowers to enjoy. If you'd like to have your flowers available in March, you want to plant them early in the season (September and October). The later you plant your bulbs, the later your blooms will appear in your garden, so plan ahead and get them in the ground in time to have the earliest possible blossoms.

Daffodils may be planted as late as February but the blooms will come later in the year. Get them in the ground as early as possible for the best results from your bulbs and your garden.

Daffodil Trumpet
Daffodil Trumpet | Source

How Far Apart Should I Plant My Daffodils?

Daffodils look best when they are planted in clusters together, so you should consider planting your bulbs in clusters of five or six, spaced between two and three inches apart. Like most bulbs, they are beautiful when then come up in these kinds of clumps. You may want to determine which types of daffodils your bulbs are going to produce before planting, as varieties with more blooms per stem may desire wider spaces between them and the nearest flowers.

Depth may determine how far apart to space your bulbs, too. Make sure that they have enough room to grow!

How Deep Should I Plant My Daffodil Bulbs?

Your daffodil bulbs should be planted at least five to six inches deep. Because these bulbs are planted in the autumn months, they have to endure the harsh temperatures of winter, and for that reason you're going to want them to be deep enough to withstand any freezing the ground suffers during the colder months of the year.

If you live in a colder climate, you should bury your bulbs deeper in the soil to protect them from the winter cold. Your bulbs are going to have to survive the freezing temperatures and the deeper you plant them, the better their chances of making it through the winter.

Daffodil flowers after spring rain
Daffodil flowers after spring rain | Source

What Are Flower Bulbs?

Flower bulbs are essentially the nutritional store center for the flowers they support. Like a root system, the bulbs draw nutrients from the soil and then store those nutrients in the fiber of the bulb. This goes for both flower bulbs and for tuberous vegetables as well.

Daffodil bulbs must be dug in the summer in order to be stored safely until the autumn comes again and they can be returned to the ground. This makes them more work, but it's very much worth it with Daffodils, as their yield is so great!

You'll find storage instructions below, but remember always that your daffodil bulbs will only last so long so they need to be put back in the ground every fall!

Digging and Storing Your Daffodil Bulbs

You don't need to dig your Daffodil bulbs every year unless you live in climates that demand it. Every few years you will want to dig up the bulbs and divide them as per the video to the left illustrating this process. If, however, you plan on relocating these bulbs, they can be dug out and stored for planting again the next fall.

Daffodil bulbs should be dug after the leaves have turned yellow. Until the leaves have turned yellow and died, they are still working to photosynthesize and send nutrients to the bulb to be stored for the next season. After this is finished, you may dig up your bulbs and store them. Some sites recommend rinsing them (not necessary) but they can be stored in brown paper bags or in old nylon stockings or onion bags.


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    • beckisgiftguides profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      4 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      This winter has been insanely cold this year. We had about eight inches of snow this week -- so far!

    • prestonandkate profile image

      Preston and Kate 

      4 years ago from the Midwest

      Very informative! We have had a cold winter, and I am ready for some spring flowers. The daffodils are some of the first I see once warm weather comes. We love being outside in the flower gardens! Great hub! -Kate


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