This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

March 15, 2017

A great flower for the desert - daffodil

Here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, daffodils do great. I've planted plenty of bulb plants here at the Tropical Paradise, but there's nothing better than daffodils. It's March 15th and my King Alfred variety is starting to bloom. I have about twenty around the garden, and this one (above) is the first one to bloom. The rest will bloom over the next few days, and March will be daffodil month here!

I've tried lots of different varieties, but I prefer King Alfreds. They're BIG! The foliage is slightly bluish, and it doesn't fall all over itself like some varieties of daffodil. That's important to me because while the blooms are fine, what I see mostly is the foliage. And, sad to say, some daffodil foliage just looks kinda weedy.

I did plant these a little bit late in the season, which wasn't good. I really hadn't planned on planting daffodils, but I was at Home Depot last December, and a package of bulbs caught my eye, and I noticed that in my zone (10), they could be planted as late as December. It would be better to plant them in September, and I'm finding out why today.

It's already getting very hot here. Since it takes 2-3 months for the bulbs to grow big enough to bloom, if I had planted them in September, or October, or even November, the blooms would have started that much earlier, and they wouldn't be "gasping for breath" in the heat (it got to over 90 yesterday!). Luckily, it will be a "no-brainer" next year, as all I have to do is to leave the bulbs in the ground, and they'll come back. My experience is that all of the bulb plants that I've planted have come back for several seasons, although they don't seem to come back forever.

I noticed that one of the blooms wasn't opening correctly, and I deadheaded it, as well as trimming off some leaves that were sunburned. I make sure to plant bulbs close to my path so that I can easily "fuss" with the flowers without having to walk into the garden. I've made the mistake of planting bulbs back in the garden, and not only do they get lost visually, they become difficult to "fuss" with - and I like to be able to just reach down and do a bit of trimming, you know, while carrying my coffee cup in the morning, before I'm even fully awake.

My automatic watering system is now turned back on, to come on for fifteen minutes every 72 hours, and I will continue to hand-water the daffodils daily. That's another reason that I make sure to plant them close to the path - I don't need to be walking up into the garden to hand water.

After the blooms are over comes the most difficult part for a neat gardener like me - allowing the leaves to die back, which puts energy back into the bulb for next year's bloom. In the past I've made the mistake of trimming the leaves back as soon as they started to become a bit unsightly and brown. But you're not supposed to do that! Let the leaves die back naturally, and once they're all brown, you can go ahead and trim them to the ground. The daffodils will be fine sleeping in the ground until next fall, when they'll start growing again, and bloom in late winter/early spring.
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