Daffodils bring sunshine to the early spring garden

I love the early blooms of snowdrops and crocuses, but nothing gives me hope that spring is on the way like a swath of daffodils.

Those sunny yellow blooms reassure me that yes, spring is coming, and the garden is waking up from the winter and beginning to grow.

To enjoy the beauty of daffodils in the spring, the bulbs need to be planted in the fall. However, daffodils are blooming now, and they are the flower for March birthdays – so now seems like a good time to learn about this early sunny bloomer.

Choose a sunny spot to plant your daffodils. They will produce the healthiest blooms with at least six hours of sunshine. They will grow in partial shade with dappled sun, but sun is the key to beautiful flowers.

Of course, you can plant your bulbs in a row as a border or tuck a few in the landscape here and there, but for me, the more daffodils you plant together, the better. I love to look out and see a concentration of their blooms in one area.

One way to achieve this natural look is to toss the bulbs on the ground then dig and plant them where they landed. I do this with tulips too. I gently toss the bulbs within my garden beds and then plant, which gives me random but somewhat contained flowers in the spring.

Plant the daffodil bulbs deep enough in the ground so that three inches of soil cover the bulbs. Place the bulbs 3 to 6 inches apart. This layer of soil will protect them from the harsh winter months.

Did I mention-daffodils are deer resistant?!

Daffodils are perennials. Each year, you can add bulbs to your original planting area to increase the size and impact. As the bulbs age, they will develop “daughters” or new bulbs that will join the original bulbs and create small clumps of plants.

Blooms last for about three weeks. Don’t be afraid to pick a bouquet to bring inside. The faded blooms can be deadheaded on the plant but do not trim the leaves. Don’t braid them, knot them, or fold them over. Let them die back or turn brown naturally. It is through the leaves that the bulbs store energy for next year’s growth and blooms.

Think about companion planting that will emerge as the daffodils are finished. This will hide the leaves. Some ideas include daylilies, a tall sedum, bearded iris, or black eyed susans. 


There are thousands of different varieties of daffodils, but these break down to a dozen common divisions based on the form of the flower.

The shape of the bloom generally groups the divisions of daffodils. The traditional daffodil had six petals and an inside corona or cup. Of course, not all daffodils are yellow. You may see pale yellow or white with yellow centers.

A few of the varieties include trumpet, where the corona is longer than the petals, making the bloom look like a trumpet; Double daffodils, have double petals, or double coronas – or both; and Triandus has at least two flowers per stem. Do your research. Not all daffodil bulbs bloom at the same time. With a bit of planning, you can have blooms from early January through late April.

I have miniature daffodils growing under a tree (they get dappled sun). They grow in small clumps, are about 5 inches high, and are the perfect mix to snowdrops and crocuses.

Often daffodils and jonquils are considered the same. They are related but slightly different. Jonquils’ slender leaves have rounded tops and can be fragrant. Daffodils also have slender leaves, but the tips are pointed, and there is very little if any fragrance.

Set a reminder on your phone, a sticky note on your wall calendar, or clip this article and earmark it for October, whatever it takes to remember fall bulb planting. When the sunny daffodil blooms appear on a cold spring day, you will smile, be happy, and probably plan to have even more blooms next year.