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NARCISSUS


How to Grow Daffodils


BUYING THE BULBS Look for those that are solid and heavy, with no injury to the basal plate. So-called double-nose bulbs will give you the most and largest fl owers the fi rst season after planting. In most climate zones, it’s best to plant bulbs in mid- to late fall when soils have begun to cool.


N


SITE SELECTION Daffodils grow best in full sun. Plant among fl owering shrubs and perennials in groundcover plantings, near water, in rock gardens, or in borders. Plant in sweeping drifts where space is available. In hot summer regions, daffodils are often planted beneath high-branching deciduous trees where they receive full sun while they are blooming; after bloom, dappled shade. This can be effective but often results in declining bloom if the shade is too dense. Flowers usually face the sun—another factor to keep in mind when selecting planting locations.


SOIL Daffodils are not fussy about soil as long as it is well drained. To improve drainage in heavy soils, dig in plenty of organic matter prior to plant- ing. Or cover the planting area with several inches of compost, set bulbs on top, and cover with 6–8 in. of compost or amended soil.


PLANTING Set bulbs approx- imately twice or three times as deep as they are tall—typi- cally 5–6 in. deep for large bulbs, 3–5 in. deep for smaller ones. Space bulbs at least 6–8 in. apart (or three times their width for smaller varieties). Water newly planted bulbs thoroughly.


WATERING In many regions, fall and winter are wet or snowy enough to provide all the moisture daffodils require. If precipitation fails before bloom period ends and leaves begin to yellow, keep plantings well watered. Summer watering is not needed.


DEADHEADING Faded blooms can be removed to neaten plants’ appearance, but leave the foliage in place to mature naturally; as long as the leaves are green, they are using sunlight to rebuild the bulbs’ energy for next year’s growth. After foliage has turned yellow, remove it and lightly cultivate the soil so that insects will not have an easy way in.


DIVIDING Established clumps need dividing only when fl ower production and bloom quality decline. It’s easiest to dig clumps just before foliage completely dies down, when you can still see where plants are. After digging bulbs, replant imme- diately or store them as you would gladiolus corms until planting time.


FORCING Fill a deep pot (8– 12 in.) three-quarters full with potting soil. Set bulbs close together, tips level. Fill with soil to an inch from the top. Place pots in a well-drained trench, in a cold frame, or on a ground cloth in a uniformly cool area and cover with 6– 8 in. of moist peat moss, wood shavings, mulch, leaves, sawdust, or sand. Look for roots in 8 to 12 weeks (tip pot carefully). Remove pots with well-started bulbs to a greenhouse, a cool room, or full sun to bloom. Keep well watered until foliage yellows; then plant out in the garden. You can sink containers of bulbs in borders when plants are almost ready to bloom, and then lift them when fl ow- ers fade.


PESTS The most serious pest is the narcissus bulb fl y. An adult fl y resembles a small bumblebee. The female lays eggs on leaves and on necks of bulbs; when eggs hatch, young grubs eat their way into the bulbs. Check bulbs before planting and discard any that are damaged, soft, or infested. Cultivate and mulch around bulbs after leaves die down.


color, usually with red edges. Very fragrant. ‘Actaea’ and ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ are favorites.


Bulbocodium hybrids. Hoop petticoat fl owers; small, mostly trumpet with almost threadlike perianth segments. ‘Golden Bells’ (yellow), ‘Kenellis’ (white segments with light yellow cup), and ‘Spoirot’ (white) are varieties.


Species, varieties, and hybrids. This category includes species, their naturally occurring forms, and wild hybrids. Included here are many miniature types popular with collectors and rock garden enthusiasts. Prominent among these are the following. N. bulbocodium. HOOP PETTICOAT DAFFODIL. Zones 3–24. Plant is hardy to about –10°F (–23°C). Stems to 6 in. high bear small yellow fl owers that are mostly trumpet, with almost threadlike perianth seg- ments. Foliage is grassy. N. jonquilla. JONQUIL. Very fragrant golden yellow fl owers with short cups in clusters of two to six on 1-ft. stems. Rush- like foliage.


Split-corona hybrids. Cup is split for at least one-third its length into two or more seg- ments. ‘Tripartite’ (all yellow); ‘Cassata’ and ‘Smiling Twin’ (white perianth segments, yel- low cup) and ‘Hungarian Rhap- sody’ (white segments, pink cup) are three of the more read- ily available varieties in this small but growing class.


Miscellaneous. This category contains all types that don’t fi t the other divisions. ‘Tête-à-tête’ and fragrant ‘Tiny Bubbles’ (both yellow) are rock garden dwarfs to about 6 in. high.


For a natural meadow effect, broadcast handfuls of narcissus bulbs across prepared ground. Adjust their pattern so the drift is denser at one end and toward the cen- ter, as if the bulbs gradually spread outward.


Nassella NEEDLE GRASS


Poaceae PERENNIAL GRASSES


ZZONES VARY BY SPECIES FFULL SUN


N LITTLE OR NO WATER, EXCEPT AS NOTED


Nassella


These needle grasses were once included in Stipa. All are clump formers characterized by long awns—needlelike or threadlike appendages that give a feathery look to the infl ores- cence. They are California natives that look much alike; all are useful for revegetation of wild areas, for stabilizing soil, and for restoring natural mead- ows. They can be started from seed. Clear area of weeds and other grasses fi rst; Nassella species can self-sow once established, but initially they cannot compete with other vegetation.


All these needle grasses are cool-season growers that go dormant during hot, dry sum- mers, reviving with cooler autumn weather and rains. N. cernua. NODDING NEE- DLE GRASS. Zones 7–9, 11, 14–24. To 3 ft. high, 2 ft. wide, with deep green leaves. Purple- toned awns reach 41⁄2 in. long, age to a silvery color. Blooms in late winter, early spring. N. lepida. FOOTHILL NEE- DLE GRASS. Zones 7–9, 11, 14–24. Similar to N. cernua in appearance and bloom season, but the awns are shorter (to 2 in. long). N. pulchra. PURPLE NEE- DLE GRASS. Zones 5–9, 11, 14–24. The classic native Cali- fornia bunch grass. Much like


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