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RE: 6 inches-correct planting depth for daffs? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: limequilla on 08.21.2006 at 02:14 am in Cutting Garden Forum

You'll like those. On the mix, give each bulb as much room around it as you can so they don't get mixed up. It will be lovely in only 2 years' time...each bulb makes its own bouquet, but if they are too close together and 2 kinds of flowers are coming out of the bouquet it no longer is attractive. When I first started, an elderly lady sent me home with 70 varieties, all separatley labeled and bagged. I had a lot of room and planted them at least a foot apart...the next year they were really sparse, 2 years later they looked pretty good, and 3 years later all the neighbors were commenting on how great they looked and wanted to know the secret. They stayed down over 10 years before I harvsted, eachyear better than the last.

A little tip -- put the fertilizer down in the hole, cover with soil or sand or both, and then put the bulb on the soil. Fertilizer needs to be down where the roots are. One of the NPK elements, either phosphorus or potassium (I forget) doesn't travel in the soil and needs to be down belwo the bulb to be effective. You can buy 50 # of onion fertilizer 5-20-20 or 6-24-24 for arounf $10.00 a bag at the farm bureau.

If it truly is a mix, with many different kinds of bulbs, the smaller bulbs will be smaller flowers, so put them in front or where they will be visible. Likewise any with black, dark brown or deep chestnut colored skins.

Here's some trivia, and I believe it is true because the fellow telling the story is very dry and doesn't have much of a sense of humor. He didn't tell it as a joke, but as a story. The fella who bred 'Gay Kybo' actually named the flower for himself, which isn't done in the daffodil world. Many hybridizers in the olden days got around this by naming a flower supposedly for their wives, as in Mrs. R. O. Backhouse. In moidern times hybridzers use each other's names.

The story went like this: Gay Kybo is the nick name this particular hybridizer's mother called him as a child -- it stood for Keep Your Bowels Open. LOL! Do you still like the flower?



clipped on: 10.28.2008 at 08:52 pm    last updated on: 10.28.2008 at 08:52 pm

RE: 6 inches-correct planting depth for daffs? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: limequilla on 08.19.2006 at 01:51 am in Cutting Garden Forum

Hi Wendy,

It's easy, and I can give you rules of thumb, but I don't really know what you have access to because you can buy wholesale and I can't. FYI: Mitsch daffodils in Canby, OR is in your neck of the woods and sells their seedlings at a discounted price.

The yellow flowers you mentioned have been superceded, but since they are so cheap, do you really want to buy something more expensive? If so, look for 'Camelot'. It should be 20c a bulb more expensive, but that is in my retail catalog. It is yellow, blooms late mid-season (say April 20-25 in Indianapolis.) If you can't find it easily, send me to the website where you want to buy bulbs and I'll pick one out.

Naturally, if you were to spend $50.00 on a bulb the following rules of thumb would no longer be true, but from what you have available to you at a wholesale price the following are are good rules of thumb:

Early blooming flowers have yellow petals and later have white petals. (Mt Hood, Ice Follies are exceptions beibg early whites and Camelot being a fairly late yellow)

Pink coronas are generally late, too. Sometimes the pink coloration doesn't go the entire length of the corona giving a blah look.

Yellow petals with pink coronas almost always have short stems and blah colors.

Flowers said to have orange petals are generally weak garden plants and don't perennialize well (but they are gorgeous the first year!!!)

Flower names with the word "little" or "mini" in them are not cut flowers.

Bloom times by division:
Early - divs are 1, 6
Mid season - are 2, 4,
Late season are - 3, 5, 7, 9
Div 10 - there are none that are good cut flowers
Div 11 is the split of butterflies and their pedigree could be div 1, 2 or 3, so they can be early , mid, or late.

Best Bets for later cut flowers that are also good garden flowers and will perennialize if you give them enough room: Stratosphere, Passionale, Romance, N. jonquilla or Kokopelli, Gay Kybo, Chromacolor, Cool Flame, Cum Laude, Yellow Cheerfulness, Sir Winston Churchill, Tamar Fire, Tahiti, Manon Lescaut (but it might be early), Merlin, Misty Glen, Precocious (very good). These should all be available cheaply. (I have a list of everything that's grown in Holland for export, but I don't know if your supplier is necessarily offering these).

So, maybe you can learn a little about daffodils and with this information you can look at any daffodil catalog and tell a good one from a not so good one. However I am the first to agree that every bulb catalog does NOT have the information you may need. has a great search engine called "daffseek". You can plug in any daffodil name and find out how old it is, when it blooms (the seasons are coded by number; 1= very early, say March 15 -- through 6= which is very late May 1 here) and how long the stem is. You can also see other pictures.

Let me give you the big picture in another incredibly long post so you can see how the daffodil division impacts the use as a cut flower.

Daffodils, like any flower, are divided into groups depending on the shape of the flower. Most people are very familiar with Tulip groups -- Darwin Hybrid and Greigii, for instance, but the daffodil groups are not as well known primaritly because they are not divided in the catalogs. Tulips have to be divided because there are 2 different uses for Tulips -- potted plants would be the Triumph Tulips and Darwin Hybrids are the ones we'd want for garden flowers.(about 90% of the tulips grown in Holland are for potted plants or grown in greenhouses for out of season cutflowers. I believe it is safe to say that Dutch Bulb Growers couldn't care less about garden tulips, or garden lilies, either, since they are all grown for the forced cut flower market and potted plants.)

Daffodil groups are called divisions, and it is the species flower that determines what the flower looks like and what division it falls under. Div 1-4 are all from large daffodils which originally grow or grew in the wild. MANY generations have passed to get what we now have, though, but they all look like single headed daffodils and you'd recognise them right off the bat.

Any of the daffodils in those divisions make good cut flowers, but not if they were bred in 1948, or ever 1968, and not if the petals are all jabberwockied and the flower is asymmetrical.

Div 4 is doubles, and these can be a problem when you look at them close up. They often are green on the back and the outerlayer of petals is deformed. IN other words, you can't sell them. ASK before you buy on the doubles!!!! The best looking one for most all climates is 'Rose Garden', a white double with bright pink petaloids, about $5.00 a bulb, but some of the Dutch bulbs are ok, too.

Div 3 -- the shortcups -- special because it is a cross between a late blooming div 9 and a longer cup daffodil. The beauty of all division 3s is that you can cut them as SOON as the bud shows color and time their opening. THIS IS HUGE for a daffodil flower grower because of the darn spring weather which can flatten your crop, hail can destroy the flowers, wind will tear them apart, and frosts and freezes are get the idea. If you keep them cool, as in a basement, not a fridge, and dark and in water up to their necks, they will open slowly and surely. If you put them in the floral fridge, you'll get the same thing, only slower. Div 3s are wonderful.

Div 5 - all have short stems and small flowers, possibly 2 to a stem that are about 12". Div 5 is hard to grow because members need perfect drainage and no extra water in the summer. The easiest grower in the division is also one of the ugliest: Thalia. Thalia (white)is almost always paired with muscari in the Dutch bulb catalogs, so I assume they must bloom together. Stint (pale yellow, also looks good with muscari) and Petrel (white) are the good ones if you find them.

Div 6 - Rapture (golden yellow) is the best, bar none. Bred in Canby, Oregon, as a matter of fact! It *does* have a long enough stem, but be sure to look at the shape of the flower and the flyaway petals before you like it? After having manned a LOT of daffodil shows and answered questions from the public, I can tell you these flowers are not too popular. The rest of div 6 bulbs are either hopelessly virused in Holland or too short to be of use to you.

Div 7 -- The fragrant jonquils. Here's a tip: Buy a hundred Narcissus jonquilla or Kokopelli. These are very small flowers on very long stems and are fragrant as all get out. They bloom late for daffodils, Apr 25-May 8 in Indianapolis. Put ONE or TWO in a bunch and see if you don't sell out. They dry in silica sand if you are so inclined for dried whatevers. Forget putting them in oasis, it doesn't work. The stems are very thin and they stand straight up all season. The can take wet in the summer, but they LOVE HEAT in the summer. Oregon heat is fine, Canadian Zone 2 probably isn't. 'Hillstar' has 14 inch stems, but only 10 inch stems when you'd want to cut it. I don't know of any other jonquils besides 'Stratosphere' that I an recomend wholeheartedly and I know are available.

Div 8 -- Falconet (yellow / Red-orange) and Geranium (cream and pretty orange) are the ones I like best from the catalog I have. Aspasia is 50 years old.

Div 9. Another flower you can pick in the bud showing color stage which will oopen in the cool dark. Red rim will burn in the sun, so keep the flowers shaded whther they are on the stem or cut. Any of these are pretty -- they all have the same "look" the old pheasant eye. 'Actaea' is the largest flower and the longest stem -- by far -- and also earliest to bloom, in mid-deason. Later ones are Milan, Felindre, Angel EYes, but Felindre is the only one with a decent stem.

Div 11 is interesting. Look for color is my advice. There are an swfully lot of cream colord ones on the market. Cum Laude is a favorite, but Mitsch Daffodils in Canby, Oregon specializes in White petaled, pink corona splits. They sell their seedling bulbs for $1.60 each delivered. Sometimes the seedlings are thrown in the bin because they look too much like another one! They are on the internet with a website if you care to search.

One more thing: A new study was done on the west coast and they found that daffodils need DEEP water. Warm, almost hot first and let it cool to room temperature. Deep - Up to the point where the spathe meets the stem. After the warm water cools, change the water and put them in a cool dark place. I can tell you from personal experience, they are right on the money.


clipped on: 10.28.2008 at 08:51 pm    last updated on: 10.28.2008 at 08:51 pm

RE: 6 inches-correct planting depth for daffs? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: limequilla on 08.18.2006 at 12:57 am in Cutting Garden Forum

Hi -- I wondered if you made the connection -- also I answered one on the lilium-l mailing list about Manhatten.

I have a list of daffodils for you and my notes on how they perform in the garden and whether IMHO they'd make good cut flowers.

Before you think I am a big know-it-all, I should tell you I am a HUGE grower of daffodils with about 800 different clones and also a daffodil judge.

Also, it's not that I am against "old" flowers, it's more that they have been superceded -- they are very thin in the petals and the petals are always cockled unattractively. Some of the flowers on this list are 40 and 50 years old!

Accent - has been surpassed for color long ago, see Cool Flame.
Actaea - wonderful and can take shade. Pick when the buds show color before they open and keep the red rim out of the sun!
Angel Eyes - Likewise wonderful; smaller than Actaea, but flower has a bit more substance. Pick when the buds show color before they open and keep the red rim out of the sun!

Avalanche - stay away if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line. This wants to bloom in Nov-Dec, then gets frozen and the foliage turns black with fireblight. It blooms on 2 inch stems, and the stem lengthens to make a real cut flower, but by then 1/4 of the blooms are dead.
Bahama Beach always looks washed out.
Bantam - colorful, great form but late blooming and short stemmed. Flower is small, too.
Barrett Browning - bright color, very early blooming. If it gets enough water during the growing season, this is one old flower that can really hold up!
Bell Song - pink is very pale, has somewhat of a fragrance. Small flowers on long stems.
Brackenhurst - early and bright
Carlton - The best seller in Holland after Tete a tete. EVERYBODY grows it
Cassata - nice but I dont think all-white flowers sell as quickly as colored ones in the spring.
Cheerfulness - fragrant, but I would get Yellow Cheerfulness
Cool Flame - very nice bright pink...has great stems for cutting and has a lot of substance.
Cum Laude - great.
Delibes - a very old variety...has been surpassed
Delnashaugh - never as good as the pictures. Often is contorted or only 1/2 a flower and has a lot of green on the back.
Double Campernelle - dog.
Falconet - very nice and bright and fragrant. Has 2-3 bright flowers per stem
February Gold - dog
Fortissimo - HUGE flowers. They are floppy and don't last, but might sell well.
Fragrant Rose - supposedly smells like roses, but men can't smell it as well as women. The color is more muted than most of the pictures show.
Gay Kybo Excellent.
Geranium crinkled, but you can't kill it. Widely grown by gardeners.
Gipsy Queen a miniature. Has very little substance and is dirty white.
Golden Ducat - this is good the first year, but you might have poor luck keeping it going.
Golden Harvest Most people have yellow daffodils in bloom when this blooms.
Hawera - very small flower, it's a miniature. Would be hard to keep increasing North of the Mason-Dixon line
Hoop Petticoat No. It's a potted plant.
Jamestown Very nice.
Jetfire Very short. Very early. The corona has splotches on it which are unattractive.
Kaydee Nice flower, nice color, short stems, tho.
Kidling's only 3 or 4 inces tall.
La Belle - old flower, not enough substance in the petals.
Las Vegas Huge with not much in terms of style or grace.
Lent Lily - no
Little Fellas - the word "little" is a tip off -- not for cut flowers.
Mini Cheer - the word "mini" in the name means it is too short to be a cut flower.
Paperwhites - not hardy
Pimpernel No
Pink Charm - rims to pink pretty quickly, basicaly a cream colored flower.
Pipit Similar to Hillstar in color. Not as good as Hillstar by a long shot, though.
Precocious - Yes. The color isn't as bright as Cool Flame, but it is very nice.
Professor Einstein - very colorful -- almost everybody loves this flower BUT the petals are tissue paper thin. If they get rained on, they're history.
Puppet -Colorful for the type flower, but stems are pretty short for a cut flower.
Rapture -the best, but a lot of people don't like this shape flower. It reblooms on shorter stems about 2 weeks after the first bloom.
Rival -Rapture is better by far.
Salome - has been superceded many times over
Serola - this is actually quite nice.
Stainless - a good flower.
Stratosphere The best - load up on this one.
Tahiti a good double if you like the color.
Tete-a-Tete no to cut flowers; too short. potted plants.
Tripartite very nice, but won't keep going year after year.
White Pearl Too much like Avalanche.
Yellow Cheerfulness yes, load up on this one.


clipped on: 10.28.2008 at 08:50 pm    last updated on: 10.28.2008 at 08:50 pm