How to care for daffodils?
It is no coincidence that daffodils earned the title of unpretentious bulbous. They are one of the easiest spring-flowering plants to grow, which is easy to find suitable conditions and just as easy to provide minimal care. Daffodils do not require tireless care and constant attention, delighting with bright flower heads and beautiful leaves from year to year. Their cultivation can be done even by inexperienced gardeners.
Daffodils - plants are grateful and unpretentious. The main care for them falls in the spring and comes down to feeding and watering as needed. The most difficult to care for these bulbs is considered a transplant: although daffodils can not be compared with tulips and Co., requiring annual digging (with rare exceptions), but still to preserve their decorativeness, they require not such a rare division and transplant. In favorable years, when the weather spoils, the plants almost do not need care and attention. Daffodils are cultures that fit perfectly into the concept of a “lazy” garden, which can significantly simplify the load associated with garden chores, but at the same time, even with minimal attention, they delight with a lush spring parade of fragrant flowers.
Daffodil requirements for moisture and watering
Daffodils are one of those plants that are able to be content with little care. In normal weather, they will not need regular watering even during flowering. Moreover, waterlogging of the soil for daffodils is very dangerous. But if the weather does not spoil or there is a very long drought, then supporting daffodils are introduced for daffodils during periods of budding and flowering, as well as a month after them. It is enough to irrigate the soil deeply permeating the soil per week (and at cooler temperatures - even more rare).
Watering for daffodils is carried out carefully, avoiding the wetting of flowers and buds. The use of a sprayer is undesirable.
Weed control and soil loosening
Despite the fact that daffodils form dense groups and constantly grow, these plants suffer greatly from neglect of plantings. It is better to fight weeds constantly, without giving them any chance to interfere with their favorite spring stars. For these bulbs, manual rather than mechanical weeding is preferred.
Weeding daffodils combine with accurate loosening of the soil, which is carried out shallow, avoiding the risk of injury to the bulbs and roots.
The only way to get rid of daffodil weeds and regular loosening is to mulch the soil.
Pruning daffodil flowers and leaves
In daffodils, it is advisable to remove wilted flowers immediately, without delay, together with the peduncle. The formation of seeds in this bulb cannot be allowed (unless you leave several plants for the purpose of collecting seeds).
The leaves of the daffodils are not removed until they not only turn yellow, but also completely dry. In this plant, the leaves must die off on their own and naturally; despite the significant damage to the decorativeness of flower beds, it is impossible to “help” daffodils. The process of drying out the leaves lasts almost a month and a half, and during this period it is better not to touch the plants.
At the slightest sign of damage to plants by diseases or pests, it is better to immediately remove and destroy them, even if the daffodils bloom at this time.
Rejuvenation and transplantation of daffodils
Daffodils for the most part belong to the bulbous, not requiring annual digging. In one place, they can safely remain up to a dozen years, but in order to maintain high decorativeness and varietal characteristics, it is better to plan the mandatory separation and transplantation with a frequency of 1 time in 4-5 years. In this case, you always need to focus on reducing the number of flowers, a qualitative deterioration in flowering, and not on any other signs. And if daffodils bloom sparingly compared to the previous year, then you should not hesitate to transplant. There are exceptions to the rules: new varieties are often recommended to be excavated annually (it is always better to focus on individual requirements and specify information about this when buying).
Daffodils are dug up after the foliage has completely turned yellow and withered. At the same time, late excavation is much more dangerous a bit earlier, since the beginning of the repeated rooting of bulbs then significantly affects the quality of planting material. Daffodils bloom early, but not so quickly leave the garden scene, and usually digging is carried out only at the end of June-July.
The process of digging daffodils is quite simple:
- Bulbs are dug up with a large reserve of soil, as carefully as possible, manually freeing them from the substrate.
- All bulbs are inspected, immediately selecting and destroying specimens with the slightest signs of damage.
- Bulbs are peeled and sorted by size and grade.
- Disinfect in a solution of fungicide or potassium permanganate.
- Outdoors, in ventilated shallow containers and in the shade, the bulbs are dried for 2 to 3 days.
- Bulbs are cleaned in aired, dry rooms for summer storage (at the same time, moderate temperatures of about 18 degrees are desirable).
Planting daffodils is carried out in August or the first decade of September to pre-prepared areas, according to the general rules for planting daffodils (in groups, to a depth of 10 to 20 cm, depending on the size of the bulbs). After planting, daffodils need watering in drought, mulching and shelter for the winter with dry leaves (shelter is removed as soon as possible after the snow has melted).
Nutrition for daffodils
To daffodils delighted with abundant flowering from year to year, it is enough not to forget about a single feeding in the early spring. As soon as the snow comes down for the plant, it is better to make a full portion of complex mineral fertilizers (50-60 g per bucket of water). With normal soil improvement and fertilizing before planting (in spring), they begin to fertilize only from the second, and on very fertile soils, and from the third year after planting (except for daffodils requiring excavation, or especially valuable varieties). To obtain more abundant flowering, you can divide the fertilizing on nitrogen in the early spring and potassium-phosphorus at the budding stage or to carry out two identical fertilizing twice as low concentration of complete mineral fertilizers.
If daffodils are grown for cutting or want to achieve a more spectacular flowering, you can use another strategy - potassium-nitrogen nutrition. With this strategy, not one, but four top dressings are introduced:
- When seedlings appear, complete mineral fertilizer.
- With the growth of peduncles - nitrogen and potassium fertilizers.
- During the period of budding - full mineral fertilizer.
- During flowering - phosphorus-potassium fertilizers.
In all four top dressings, 20-30 g of fertilizers are used per bucket of water and per square meter of plantings.
With organic fertilizers for this bulb you need to be very careful. Daffodils do not tolerate manure and should not be used either in pre-planting improvement of the soil, or in further care.
Daffodils are considered winter tolerant plants and usually do not need protection. Only when transplanting and planting in a new place, plants need to be additionally protected with a mulching layer for the first winter (the standard option is mulch up to 5 cm high and dry leaves with the same layer, but you can do with only dry leaves). When growing tacitte daffodils, they are recommended to cover with mulching annually. The same approach should be used for varietal, terry, imported daffodils. Mulching avoids the risk of losing daffodils even in snowless winters, therefore it (mulching) is increasingly included in the list of mandatory procedures for preparing the best new varieties of daffodils for winter, even if the winter hardiness is initially high.
Pest and Disease Control
Despite its status as a culture that grows almost without interference, daffodils are quite often affected by pests and diseases. Root mites, and nematodes, and onion beetles often appear on them; at the first signs of damage, insecticides should be used and in the future every spring, before the buds appear, carry out preventive treatments.
Of the diseases, daffodils suffer from various types of rot, mosaic, fusarium and sclerotiniosis. They fight these diseases with copper-containing fungicides (for example, copper sulfate, diluted with water at a concentration of 100 g per 1 bucket).