It’s March, the time of year in which those lovely green shoots we all know and love start breaking through the soil in gardens all over Salt Lake City, Utah. Even though we expect spring to come every year, each time it feels like a miracle — that some unseen force telegraphs to the daffodil bulbs underground that it is safe to come out now. Here at Millcreek Gardens, Salt Lake City’s favorite gardeners’ supply store, we want to celebrate the arrival of the daffodils with you and provide some helpful information and advice about these beloved blooms.
Daffodils are sometimes called narcissus or jonquils, and although they may have slight genetic variations, for most gardeners, these plants are indistinguishable. In fact, they are part of the same family that includes the amaryllis, a holiday favorite with large, showy flowers.
Almost all daffodils are yellow, but because there are scores of varieties of daffodils, the resulting blooms can be all different shades, from butter to lemon to sunshine to canary. You may have seen two-toned daffodils, with white petals (also called tepals) on the outside and a yellow inner corona.
Daffodils Are Easy to Grow
One reason daffodils are so popular is because they are so easy to grow. With our sandy soil here in the Salt Lake City area, it’s easy to dig holes or trenches to fill with bulbs in the fall.
Often, they optimistically emerge from their winter sleep only to be flattened days later by a sudden heavy snow. But daffodils are especially hardy. You may walk by them on your way to work in the morning, noticing that their faces are frozen to the concrete on your sidewalk, only to return in the evening to find the snow has melted, they have peeled themselves off the ground and are standing tall and proud.
This is evidence they are not only strong, but they are, in fact, tough to kill. They’re also famous for propagating. You may get more daffodils each year. Or, you may get one or two in an odd location that makes it hard to mow the lawn. Their penchant for multiplying is why you can see veritable fields of them on public land such as alongside roadways.
The Care and Keeping of Daffodils
While daffodils are not demanding plants, they are happier if you show them a little love. This includes keeping them covered through the winter with a warm blanket of leaves. Once you see shoots poking through the leaves (you can peek if the leaves are deep), you can remove the blanket. The best way to do this is with a small rake made for tight spots such as the ones we sell here at our Salt Lake City garden center. With this type of rake, it’s easy to gently remove the leaves around the plants, rather than literally raking them over with a giant bamboo monstrosity, which could injure them or at the very least annoy them.
If your daffodils aren’t propagating the way you’d like, or if you wish to add in new varieties, stop by Millcreek Gardens in Salt Lake City. We sell many varieties of daffodil bulbs, but remember, they must be planted in fall. If you want to enjoy daffodils right away, buy some blooms in a pot and save the bulbs for planting season.