Whether you call them jonquils, narcissus, or daffodils, these tough, beautiful flowers are easy to grow throughout the South — if you choose the right varieties and understand their simple needs.
Conditions: Daffodils need good, well-drained soil and a sunny location. They can be planted under deciduous trees, but tree roots might compete with daffodils for moisture and nutrition.
Planting: Plant the bulbs in autumn when the soil is cool. October through mid-November is optimal because it leaves time for the root system to develop. Most bulbs should be buried 6-8 inches deep, but miniatures need not go as deep, the rule is 2 ½ times the height of the bulb.
Watering: One inch a week is ideal during the growing season.
Fertilizing: Feed with a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 in March before flowering begins and avoid bone meal because it is slow to become available to the plant.
Flowers: The typical trumpet juts from a frame-like series of six petals. However, the flowers can have all sorts of spins, including double petals. There is also a range in size, with blooms standing on stems from 3 to 18 inches tall.
After a daffodil blossoms, it is essential to leave the foliage intact, allowing it to produce nutrients for next year’s flowers. Remove foliage only when it has completely died back. Buy bulbs from a reputable source to avoid viruses and bulb-fly issues.
Recommended varieties for North Central Texas:
- Grand Primo
- St. Keverne
- Texas Star
For in-depth guidance, take a look at Scott Ogden’s Garden Bulbs for the South which includes 150 daffodils that do well in zones 7-9 and Texas-based advice on growing them. Another excellent guide is Daffodils in Florida by Linda and Sara Van Beck. John and Linda tested hundreds of daffodils in zone-8b Tallahassee to discover those that did best.