Vary bulbs for continuous bloom
By Jean Gillooly
Master Gardener Volunteer
Although daffodils can be counted upon to brighten up the early spring landscape, we do wish they could last longer.
Now there is a way to prolong the blooming time by selecting bulbs which will bloom early (February-March), mid-season (March-April) and late (May).
Examples of these are:
Early ó Tete a tete, a yellow dwarf, and Dick Wilden, a yellow double. March ó Ice Follies and Ice King, both white.
Mid-season ó Mount Hood, a trumpet which is white with an ivory center. Pink Charm, white with a pink center.
Late ó Recurvus, which is white with an orange and yellow center.
These or similar selections are available at local garden centers. The bulbs are sorted in separate bins with pictures and small tear-off slips which clearly indicate the blooming period and helpful planting information. You can choose any combination of colors or shapes you like.
A good way to plant bulbs is to dig a hole 8 inches deep and wide enough to accommodate the number of bulbs, keeping them 5 or 6 inches apart. Add bulb booster according to the directions. Place Permatil around the bulbs to prevent moles or voles from feasting upon them. Cover with amended soil and water. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous and often ignored by squirrels.
After the daffodils have bloomed, the foliage needs to dry up and turn yellow in order to store up energy for next year’s flowers. This can take a while and is unsightly the whole time. Fortunately, daylilies are ideal planting companions for these bulbs. They can be planted at the same time and will cover up the yellowing leaves as the new plant grows. Use two daylilies to four or five daffodil bulbs for each square foot, according to Dutch Gardens on the Internet.
An added bonus is that daylilies and other lilies themselves can be planned to produce longer blooming time.
Early ó (June-July) Asiatic lilies; (June-August) Turks Cap lilies; (June-September) Reblooming daylilies, Border Lilies, Stella D’oro and Tango.
Mid-season ó (July-August) Dwarf and regular oriental daylilies. The large Madonna lily.
A final rewarding part of planting bulbs is that the flowers will return year after year to delight you.
Jean Gillooly is a Master Gardener Volunteer with the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.