Daffodil FAQs

Table of Contents

  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.  Back to Top

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 13 known to belong to the jonquil group.  Back to Top

How many kinds of daffodils are there?

Depending on  which botanist you talk to, there are between 40 and 200 different daffodil species, subspecies or varieties of species and over 25,000 registered cultivars (named hybrids) divided among the thirteen divisions of the official classification system.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

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).  Back to Top

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.  Back to Top

How can I learn more about daffodils at home?

A good start is to join the American Daffodil Society  today at this  convenient link.  Also, carefully read The Daffodil Journal, published by the American Daffodil Society and borrow books on daffodils from the Society’s library.   Join one of the number of daffodil round robins available, with subject matter such as Miniatures, Historics and Hybridizing.  Each round robin consists of members contributing e-mails about their experiences and discussing issues they have encountered.  Join the daffodil Internet group known as DAFFNET.  It is an international discussion forum established and supported by the American Daffodil Society and can be easily accessed at DaffNet.org.  Look at our resource DaffSeek.org, a daffodil photo database, for your favorite daffodils or for new varieties. There is information for over 23,000 daffodils with more than 26,700 photographs.  Back to Top

ADS Fall Board Meeting & Miniatures Symposium

Miniature Daffodils
will be held in soulful Memphis, TN on October 24-25. Refer to our 2014 Fall Board Meeting & Symposium page for details!