Step into spring with dazzling daffodils
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There are thousands of types of daffodil (narcissi) and often the choice can seem a bit bewildering when you are choosing which bulbs to plant.
Some have multiple flowers, others will pop back up after heavy rain, while many are scented and will provide a rich perfume on the patio.
So look out for some flowering beauties that’ll be coming into bloom in the coming weeks and, if you do plant bulbs in the autumn for flowers in the following spring, they will bring you endless joy in any situation, whether on a balcony or in a huge border.
Here are a few suggestions and where to put them…
Pots of gold
No garden or limited outdoor space? Dwarf daffs will brighten up any spot around the home.
Among the most popular is Tête-à-tête, which can be grown indoors and out, grows to no more than 20cm, and carries one, two or three small bright yellow flowers per stem in spring.
It makes a good plant partner with Anemone blanda.
A lovely unusual-looking narcissus is Bridal Crown, a multi-headed variety with double ivory-white soft blooms with orange and gold centres. It is also highly fragrant and looks great on its own or paired with deep red wallflowers.
Just remember, though, if you go for a type of daffodil with a heavy double bloom, they are more likely to flop and break in heavy rain or persistent bad weather.
For the flower border
If you want a sturdy variety that’s going to make a statement, look no further than King Midas, a yellow stalwart that will withstand quite a lot of rainfall and perk up again, is pretty disease-resistant and will do well in sun or shade.
Wisley is another reliable yellow performer, but for a more subtle hue, consider Bravoure which has white petals and an eye-catching pale yellow trumpet. These paler types won’t make such an in-your-face display, but they do tend to merge into any garden scheme and won’t clash with other plants (although avoid placing them next to something bright pink).
If you want your narcissi to naturalise well, the native varieties such as N. obvallaris, the Tenby daffodil, is a reliable solid yellow variety, as is Saint Keverne.
Alternatively you could try the deeper-hued dwarf variety Jetfire with its deep orange trumpet and yellow outside petals, which is early-flowering and makes a good companion for blue crocus.
If you plant them in clumps and don’t deadhead them, they should spread year on year.
Many of us can’t bear to cut the blooms we have grown but if you have space in a corner or on an allotment, you could grow some for that specific reason.
A designated bed also gives you some space to replant narcissi that have finished flowering to grow again. A reliable variety for cutting includes the exotic-looking Orangery, with its striking apricot trumpet.
If you want scent on your balcony or patio, the smaller multi-headed narcissi are a good bet, including Pipit, which produces two to three acid-yellow fragrant flowers per stem and many stems per bulb.
It grows to between 20-30cm, with the flowers fading to a rich cream and it’s also one of the longest-flowering daffodils – it can bloom for up to five weeks from mid-spring onwards.
Pair Minnow, another dwarf favourite with lemon-yellow, fragrant flowers, with blue forget-me-nots for a pleasing combination.
It may be a miniature, but the Canaliculatus packs a punch flower-wise, bearing up to seven fragrant white flowers with yellow centres per stem in mid-spring and is ideal for pots and rockeries.
It only reaches a height of around 15cm, so make sure it’s not swamped by much larger plants.