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...
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selections Offers Improved Navigation

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant Breeding

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More
Latest Stories
all-america-selections-new-website-home-page

December 3, 2016

New Mobile Responsive Website From All-America Selectio…

All-America Selections has launched a newly redesigned and revamped mobile-responsive website that includes a more attractive design, enhanced search tools, and easier and simpler navigation.

Read More
Sea Breeze Catharanthus combo

December 2, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
kelly-norris

December 2, 2016

Kelly Norris: How The “Me Too” Philosophy Affects Plant…

When you’re selling the exact same thing as everyone else, it’s unrealistic to expect customers to buy only from you.

Read More

November 29, 2016

How Changes In Plant Patent Law Could Affect Your Varie…

There is an ongoing discussion happening among plant genetics companies about the current laws and ethics of plant breeding, and what the future holds for the improved lawful protection of genetics.

Read More
endless-summer

November 29, 2016

Endless Summer Hydrangeas Will Soon Feature New Identit…

Bailey Nurseries, which first introduced the reblooming hydrangea a decade ago, says the new identity will feature a more contemporary look to appeal to current and future gardeners.

Read More
prince-tut-cyperus-grass-feature

November 28, 2016

Growing Tips For ‘Prince Tut’ Cyperus Grass

'Prince Tut’ from Proven Winners’ Graceful Grasses collection is versatile, working well in all container sizes with its columnar habit and dense canopy and filling out well in the landscape.

Read More
Sea breeze combo

November 26, 2016

Four Mixed Container Trends To Watch

Mixed containers are still one of the best-selling SKUs at retail. Pay attention to these four trends that are making their mark on multi-liner mixes and combination containers.

Read More
Begonia at Oklahoma State University field trials

November 26, 2016

2016 Oklahoma State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City.

Read More
Petunia 'Tidal Wave Cherry'

November 25, 2016

2016 North Dakota State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

Read More
Scaevola 'Scala Bicolor Blue'

November 24, 2016

2016 North Carolina State University Field Trials Resul…

Check out the 2016 field trial results at North Carolina State University/J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC.

Read More
2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Flower Trials

November 23, 2016

2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, MO.

Read More
Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse first caught the poinsettia bug in 1996, but the operation didn’t begin trialing the plant until 2004

November 21, 2016

Poinsettia Trials Across The Eastern U.S. To Take Place…

Poinsettia growers interested in keeping up with the latest variety and production trends have the chance to attend university open houses in New Hampshire, Louisiana, and Ohio.

Read More
Coleus 'Main Street River Walk'

November 21, 2016

2016 Michigan State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.

Read More
Field trials at Lucas Greenhouses

November 20, 2016

2016 Lucas Greenhouses Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 Field Trials results for Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, NJ.

Read More
Catharanthus 'Soiree Kawaii Coral'

November 19, 2016

Kansas State University 2016 Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trial results for Kansas State University in Lawrence, KS.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society field trials

November 18, 2016

2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials R…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley, MA.

Read More
verbena-endurascape

November 18, 2016

All-America Selections Announces Its 2017 Slate Of Vari…

Brokers, growers, mail order, and seed packet companies can purchase these varieties immediately. Retailers and consumers will find AAS Winners for sale for the 2017 gardening season as supply becomes available throughout the chain of distribution.

Read More
Vinca 'Valiant Lilac'

November 17, 2016

2016 Metrolina Greenhouses Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Metrolina Greenhouses in Huntersville, NC.

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