Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a daffodil and a narcissus?

     None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or Botanical name for all daffodils, just as llex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the American Daffodil Society at all times other than in scientific writing.

What is a jonquil?

     In some parts of the country any yellow daffodil is called a jonquil, usually incorrectly. As a rule, but not always, jonquil species and hybrids are characterized by several yellow flowers, strong scent, and reed-like foliage. The hybrids are confined to Division 7 and the term "jonquil" should be applied only to daffodils in Division 7 or species on Division 10 known to belong to the jonquil group.

How many types of daffodil are there

     Botanists differ, but there are at least 25 species, some with a great many different forms, and several natural hybrids. In addition to the species, the Daffodil Data Bank lists over 13,000 hybrids which are split among the thirteen divisions of the official classification system.

Will squirrels and armadillos eat daffodil bulbs?

      No. They may, however, dig up the bulbs. The bulbs and leaves contain poisonous crystals which only certain insects can eat with impunity. Deer may occassionally taste a daffodil, but they do not eat the flowers or foliage.

Are daffodils expensive?

     Bulbs are priced from around $1.00 up to about $100, depending on the newness or scarcity of a cultivar and not necessarily on its desirability. There are many prize-winning exhibition cultivars that can be bought for under $2.50. Cultivars for naturalizing cost even less but mixtures of unnamed cultivars are not recommended.

How long do daffodil bulbs last?

     Under good growing conditions, they should outlast any of us. The FDS recommends purchasing only those daffodils tested and known to thrive in your community.(Click on "DAFFODILS".)

How long is the flowering season of daffodils?

     From six weeks to five months, depending on where you live and the cultivars you grow.

What are miniature daffodils?

     Daffodils come in all sizes from 5-inch blooms on 2-foot stems to half-inch flowers on 2-inch stems. Largely for show purposes, but also for guidance in gardening, certain species and named cultivars have been determined by the ADS to be miniatures and must compete by themselves in daffodil shows. A current list of miniatures for this area may be obtained from the FDS.

Are daffodils difficult to grow?

      No. They are probably the easiest and most dependable of all the families of flowers and ideal for a beginner in gardening in most regions of the United States.

Can daffodils be grown throughout the United States?

     Daffodils are quite tolerant of cold, especially with a covering of snow, and are grown well into Canada. The only exceptions are a few tender cultivars, usually tazettas, such as the popular Paper White. Daffodils can also be grown throughout the South with the exception of parts of Florida which are free of frost. Along a narrow band adjoining the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas there are certain types and named cultivars which have been found to do better than others.

Will daffodils grow in the shade?

     Daffodils do well in 1/2 day of sun. Early bloomers can tolerate full sun. Miniature daffodils and those with red, orange or white in their coloration require 1/4 to 1/2 day of shade.

May I over-plant my daffodils?

     For best year-round appearance, over-plant your daffodils with shallow-rooted perennials such as verbena and ox-eye daisies. Annuals like zinnias, marigolds, periwinkles, salvia, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash will not damage your daffodils and will hide the foliage as it becomes scruffy at the end of the season.

If you have any other questions--please e-mail John VanBeck.