Dwarf Daffodil Bulbs
The smaller varieties of Daffodils are becoming increasingly popular
for a number of reasons. Marketing has much to do with the popularity,
but gardeners are also better informed as the the wide range of bulbs
that are now available.
Dwarf daffodils can be used in beds, borders, containers, in
the lawn , in woodlands, and of course - as indoor plants.
They are also grown widely by the trade now for the early
spring gardening trade. Dwarf daffodils are easy to produce in
pots - so a very good option for nurseries to grow, and for
garden centres to sell.
They are reliably in flower - oblivious to most weather
conditions - from mid-January onwards as 'potted plants' in most
Other than size, there is little difference between the dwarf
daffodils and their big brothers and sisters. The colour range is
predominantly yellow, but there are several shades of yellow, different
trumpet shapes, and habits of growth. Some of the dwarf daffodils are
virtually collector's or specialist's bulbs - sometimes having to be
afforded the protection of a cold greenhouse - or alpine house. Those
specialist dwarf bulbs are not dealt with here. We talk now of the
generally available and commonly planted daffodils which are available
to all gardeners - for most situations in the garden.
Planting and Growing Dwarf Daffodils
Dwarf Narcissus or Daffodils - they are one and the same, with
Narcissus being the proper botanical name - can be grown virtually
anywhere in the garden where other plants grow - they can also be
planted in some areas where other plants do not normally grow! At the
bases of house walls for instance where the summer soil is often too
dry, dwarf daffodils will often flourish. This is mainly because their
natural habitat, is where the soils are dry in the summer months.
They can also be planted in areas where the soil is too shallow for
normal planting -such as stony ground - or even below a few inches of
gravel. Now there's an idea for a gravel garden path! Use the earlier
flowering varieties such as Tete a Tete, and they will flower at a time
(February) when the garden path is not too often used, and will be over
and done with by the time the path is back to normal use. Plant them at
the edges of course.
dwarf Daffodils are grown as permanent fixtures - at the front of shrub
borders, in rockeries, brightening up the otherwise 'dead' herbaceous
borders, bringing cheer nearer to the house in patio pots. The
possibilities are endless. And, the bulbs are generally reasonable
prices so experimenting is not out of the question. just plant a few in
a new environment. If successful (likely) they can be left to multiply -
and they all do that. If not successful (rarely) then dig them up after
flowering and replant elsewhere.
Planting of Dwarf Daffodils - such as the
Narcissus cyclamineus in the image - should take
place as soon as possible after end of August. This will allow the roots
to get established in their new home before the winter proper sets in.
as with virtually all bulbs, they should be planted at a depth that is
around twice that of the actual bulb. So for many such bulbs the
planting hole will just be a few inches deep.
The only exception to this planting depth, is if the bulbs are
planted in patio containers or window boxes. Add another inch (2.5cm) to
the depth of planting. This seems to help!
They will start to show above ground level as soon as January. No
need to email us worried about that - even if very cold. It is normal.
Some bulbs even start to show though in late December.
Pot Grown Daffodils
Many Dwarf daffodil bulbs are bought in the early spring - as pot
grown clumps of several bulbs per pot at garden centres and nurseries.
If you didn't get round to buying the bare bulbs in August/September,
pot grown bulbs are the next best option.
Yes, it is a more expensive way of buying bulbs, but they are so
appealing at this normally dead time of year, that they are rarely on
the garden centre display for more than a few weeks. The growers are
clever, in that they stagger the plantings so that they can have
saleable pots of bulbs right through until Easter or so.
The thing to remember with pot grown bulbs, is that they should be
re-planted in their next year's position as soon as possible - not
simply leave them in their posts. That is unless you simply want them
for a temporary display for a few weeks. It is a good idea to give the
foliage and roots a few liquid feeds after flowering. the roots will
have been confined in the posts, so not able to replenish the food
reserves in the bulb - which will soon be going into 'hibernation'.
Same as squirrels and hedgehogs - but during summer instead of winter.
We all know that the mammals have to have a good fest before hibernation
to see them through. So it is with bulbs!
You can carefully divide the clumps of bulbs - some root damage is
inevitable - but they will settle in to their new home better if the
clusters are prised apart. make sure that you plant the nose of the bulb
below soil surface level. In the pot grown clumps, they will have been
planted more or less on the surface. Ok for a year, and cheaper to grow
that way for the nurseryman. Smaller pots, less compost = less cost! The
flowering clumps also have a bit of a novelty value when seen grown like
that. That method is NOT for permanent plantings.
Naturalising Dwarf Daffodil Bulbs in the Lawn.
of their dwarf stature, Daffodils such as Narcissus
Tete a Tete - which is probably the all time favourite Dwarf
Daffodil - are superb for planting in the lawns. The stocky little
plants do not suffer from the strong winds or pouring rain rain like
their taller counterparts.
Another positive advantage of Dwarf daffodils naturalised in lawns,
is that they are generally early flowering - so sooner to die down -
when the planted area can be mown sooner than if it were planted with
the normal size daffodils.
You can either dig up sections of the turf - messy - or simply dig
out a small hole with a trowel or buy a special bulb planter to help you
with the job. get them planted in early autumn - as soon as you can
obtain them from the garden centre - or mail order.
Remember where you plant them in the lawn, so that you do not trample
the new growth that starts to emerge just after Christmas. If you
trample the foliage - and frisky dogs running the lawn are probably the
worst culprits - there is a chance you will also damage the flower buds,
which will be just below the surface.
Some Good Varieties of Dwarf Daffodil Bulbs
Because of their popularity, breeding work is being carried out all
the time for new varieties. These will be expensive, and not necessarily
much different to the standard varieties if planted enmasse!
Narcissus Tete a Tete is so easy to grow, and always
a mass of flower, that it has become the 'standard' dwarf daffodil. It
deserves that place, and will be sure to please, Quick to establish and
good in the lawns or around trees. Normally around 6-8in tall and a
sturdy growth habit. The trumpets are normally upright rather than
Narcissus cyclamineus -
seen above - is better if not naturalised under grass. But it can be
grown almost anywhere in the garden. Very dainty habit and appearance.
Greta for the Patio Pot - where it will create a lot of visitor
interest. Drooping trumpets - but showy if in the right place.
Narcissus Tresamble - is a creamy white with a pale
yellow trumpet - Good one this!
Narcissus Minnow - As you woukld expect from the
name - a dwarf white but with canary yellow shallow trumpet - likes to
look up - so vary attractive
Narcissus Thalia -Pure white - a little stunner, and
probably my personal favourite (after Tete a Tete)
Narcissus Jet Fire - thoroughly deserves that name.
Deep gold with orange trumpet.
Narcissus Rip Van Winkle is different. Very
different. Ok its a golden yellow - but flowers are more like a cactus
dahlia - but smaller!
Whichever Dwarf Daffodil Bulbs takes fancy. Get to the garden centre
early. Pre-order them if you can, or start buying them from the mail
order catalogues in January - for next year flowering, and the current
Planting and Growing
Daffodils | Growing
Daffodils Indoors |