The Lowdown On Daffodils

The Lowdown On Daffodils

Daffodil Basics

Daffodil bulbs can be obtained in different grades, as well as standard dry bulbs or pre-cooled bulbs. The standard grades of daffodils are: Double-Nose I (DN I), Double-Nose II (DN II) and round bulbs. DN I bulbs promise the most flowers, but flowers vary greatly among the different cultivars.
For forcing, I rely on DN I bulbs while smaller grades are an economic alternative for dry bulb sales. We are fortunate to have plenty of cooler space, so we can work with standard dry bulbs, which are more economical than pre-cooled bulbs.
 Juergen’s Top 4
Daffodils For Pot Production

‘Arctic Gold’ is a true image of a daffodil that does well in a pot. It is a yellow trumpet narcissus that is the quintessential icon of spring. In German, this type of daffodil is called “Osterglocke,” which translates into “Easter bells.”

‘Sir Winston Churchill’ is a cultivar of Division 4 or double-flowered daffodil. It is my favorite cultivar, perhaps, for its reliable strong show in a container. In addition, it is one of the cultivars that stand out because of its fragrance. Few other flowers produce such a strong and pleasing scent. This cultivar should be treated with a PGR to control plant height.

‘Tete-á-Tete’ is hard to beat in performance and customer recognition. It is a very compact cultivar that I don’t have to invest a lot of resources in to have a perfect crop. Small container sizes such as 5-inch bulb pans and even 4-inch pots work best for this showstopper. When grown right it is a cute little splash of spring ready to be picked up by consumers shopping in suppermarkets and garden centers early in the season. I have forced ‘Tete-á-Tete’ and other early cultivars for display in the first week of January.

‘Thalia,’ in my mind, is an illustration of grace and elegance. This daffodil is a perfect silver-white flowering cultivar that performs well in container production.

For forcing early in the season, coolers are indispensable. But for late-season growing, cold frames will do just fine in regions where temperatures approach freezing. Inconsistent cooling due to weather will result in uneven crops and poor flowering.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing a reliable supplier. It took me several years and some patience to find the right companies. Particularly challenging for the companies working with me is the fact that the Longwood Gardens’ forcing program consists of more than 100 daffodil cultivars for an average year. 
Frequently, displays consist of small numbers of pots. So I need only a few hundred bulbs for each cultivar. In these instances, I am below minimum order and my suppliers not only tolerate me, but they support our program. 
Many suppliers are set up to work with you to find the right selection of cultivars, so they are happy to provide you trial samples to promote their cultivars. Each year, I plant some extra pots of new cultivars. This gives me an opportunity to practice with these product lines and see how they perform and fit into my program.
Because commercial operations generally focus on fewer cultivars, they avoid some challenges I have experienced. Good suppliers will help you identify suitable cultivars as well as make sure you’re getting quality bulbs for a fair price. 
Bulb quality is also essential. You need to inspect each bulb crate upon arrival. Dispose of any soft or diseased bulbs. If something goes wrong during shipping or bulbs are infested with fusarium, tell your sales representative. You should be informing your supplier as soon as possible to get a refund or a substitute shipment. I have found combining orders and storing bulbs in a cooler will save on shipping costs. Bulbs can be stored for several weeks in a cooler with a set point of 63°F.

Potting Guidelines

 
 
 

Vernalization & Forcing

Pots are watered in well after planting and placed in coolers for a cool treatment. Most daffodils require 15 to 17 weeks cooling. Some cultivars, such as ‘Early Sensation,’ are fine with just 12 weeks cooling. Pots should stay evenly moist. The quality of the crop can be affected negatively by uneven moisture during cooling. Crops should be checked at least weekly for watering and to determine their developmental stage. Cooler temperatures are reduced at certain intervals. The developmental stage governs the timing of decreasing temperatures. 
Stage 1: 48°F. Roots begin to show at drainage holes of the pots.
Stage 2: 41°F. The shoots start growing. Then, move pots before they are 1-inch tall.
Stage 3: 33°F. Maintain this temperature for the remainder of the cooling period.
Once the chilling requirement is completed, pots should be moved to a forcing compartment in your greenhouse. Choose a well-lit growing area (2,500 footcandles) and maintain a temperature range of 63°F to 68°F. Manipulating day and night temperatures can alter plant height. The bench time or forcing time varies greatly among the cultivars but ranges generally between 15 and 30 days. If you have time, you can grow plants at lower temperatures like 55ºF or 60ºF. 
Forcing at a lower temperature usually results in more compact and sturdier plants with stronger flowers. One has to weigh the prospect of better quality product with the cost of the bench space.
Often, people ask me when to plant bulbs and when to take them out of the cooler. This all depends on the display date, or for a commercial greenhouse operation, the ship date–and for a person trying to win a blue ribbon at the flower show, the date of the show. Determining the proper planting date is a basic equation and simple to calculate. It is best done using a spreadsheet. 
Subtract from the display date (DD) the time it takes to force (FD) the crop in the greenhouse and the time crops need to vernalize in coolers (VD). The result will be the potting date (PD). So again: PD = DD–(FB+VD).

Plant Health & Crop Quality

 
 
 
 

Harvest & Sale

Make sure you have arranged for swift distribution of your crop. Daffodils are highly affected by temperature. At a temperature range of 45ºF to 55ºF, daffodils exhibit a remarkable longevity of two and sometimes three weeks. At temperatures above 65ºF, flowers may last only a few days. 
Therefore, the shelf life of a crop is limited and flowering pots can be held for only a limited amount of time in coolers. Infrequently, I have held crops for about 14 days in a cooler with a set point of 32ºF. When holding crops longer in the cooler, plant quality will deteriorate. Please note that plants held for some time in the cooler have a shorter lifespan on display or on the shelf. They do not last nearly as long as plants that were never held in a cooler. 

Speed of distribution and temperature control during transportation to the sales shop are essential. It would even be worthwhile to have several potting dates with fewer pots per succession. So when delivering plants to the store, a smaller number is delivered on subsequent delivery dates, providing fresh merchandise over several weeks. 

Leave a Reply

One comment on “The Lowdown On Daffodils

More From Varieties...
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Market

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triumphs

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Europe To Introduce New Flowering Shrubs

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More
Latest Stories
Dr Allan Armitage

February 8, 2016

Why Succulents Have Become The Hippest Plants On The Ma…

Allan Armitage says succulents used to be relegated to the far end of the display bench, but their adaptability, decorative value, and low maintenance requirements have now made them a staple.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More

January 24, 2016

Positive Consumer Experiences Help Advance The Orchid C…

HGTV HOME Plant Collection plans to expand its Fresh Style product line through a partnership with Green Circle Growers (Oberlin, Ohio), which will supply decorative orchids, tropical plants, and indoor garden combinations. Greenhouse Grower asked Maxwell Sherer about Green Circle's orchid program, the latest trends he’s seeing, and where he thinks orchid growing is headed in the future.

Read More
Sansevieria in Corner of home

January 21, 2016

Tropical And Indoor Foliage Plants Emerge As A Lifestyl…

Consumers are incorporating houseplants into their everyday lives, which is driving the trends toward smaller-size plants and unique products that appeal to a younger demographic.

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

January 20, 2016

How To Promote Pollinator-Friendly Plants This Spring

Following last year’s launch of the National Pollinator Garden Network, groups like the National Garden Bureau and others remind growers that offering pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to keep up with consumer demand.

Read More
Caladium Painted Frog Series (Plants Nouveau)

January 17, 2016

16 New Foliage Plants To Round Out The Garden

Every garden needs a good mix of flowering and foliage plants for an attention-grabbing show of thrillers, fillers, and spillers. These new foliage varieties will not only act as a lush backdrop for colorful blooms, they can also stand on their own with their noteworthy textures and colors.

Read More
California Coast

January 13, 2016

Mark Your Calendars For The 2016 California Spring Tri…

It’s time to think about registering for the 2016 California Spring Trials. You won’t want to miss any stops along the way, so use this quick reference to help with planning for your trip.

Read More
David Roberts Bailey Nuseries Feature Image

January 12, 2016

Bailey Nurseries’ David Roberts Says New, Novel Varieti…

Roberts was recently hired by Bailey Nurseries to be the General Manager and Breeder for Plant Introductions, Inc., which Bailey acquired last year.

Read More
Kelly Norris - feature

January 11, 2016

Kelly Norris: Questioning The Purpose Of New Plants

Norris asks if the time has come to rethink new plant introductions, or how we market them to consumers.

Read More
Weeks Roses Miss Congeniality

January 11, 2016

Weeks Roses Introduces New Lineup Of Roses For 2016

Weeks breeds and grows a wide range of rose bushes, all of which are field tested for many factors.

Read More
CAST2015_Floranova_Vegetalis_Ageratum Cloud Nine Blue

January 8, 2016

Floranova Opening New Chile-Based Research Station, For…

Floranova has announced it is building a new research station in Chile that will open in mid-2016. As a result, the company will not participate in the 2016 California Spring Trials, but says it will be back in 2017.

Read More
Streptocarpus 'Yellow Blue Eye' (Green Fuse Botanicals)

January 5, 2016

15 Flowering Foliage And Tropical Plants For The Home A…

Tropical and foliage plants are the ultimate lifestyle plants because they enrich the environment and provide mood-boosting benefits. Take into account some of these new introductions for a crop mix that helps your customers realize the true benefits of plants.

Read More
BallSeed-WebTrackToGo-app Feature Image

January 5, 2016

Ball Seed Launches WebTrack To Go App For Mobile Phones…

The app is available for free in the Google Play and iTunes app stores, and serves as a companion to Ball’s full WebTrack business management system.

Read More
Terra Nova Garden Decorating Guide

December 31, 2015

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases New Garden Decorating Gui…

The guide’s wheel-shaped design groups new plants by color and was inspired by the Pantone Matching System color guide.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]