Daffodil questions

duluthinbloomz4November 21, 2006

I'm posting this here as opposed to the Bulb Forum as I'm beginning my 2007 gardening "due dilligence" early and would love some input from daffodil growers in our colder Minnesota hardiness zones. I have planting areas that support drifts of Siberian Scilla, Muscari, some random Chionodoxa, and have always had good luck with lilies so I'm guessing daffodils would work too, but... which types have proven successful for you? Can you trust the dazzling array of daffodil bulbs offered by the big box stores to really be appropriate for our climate? Do you rely on mail order or a good local nursery?

Thanks for any help you can give me. As a perennial grower I've learned to be patient, but the spring of 2008 (let alone the fall of 2007) seems light years away!


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selkie_b(z4 MN)

I'm not sure what the heck it is, but daffs are very tricky here - even in the bit warmer Twin Cities. Some types do ok, I've found, the ones that are more geared for rock gardens actually - has to do with our hot summers even more than our cold winters it seems. I know you can do it, I've just tried and tried... and it's not like I haven't grown them before, I lived a chunk of my life in the Seattle area and the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. Thing is, that is just one pesky zone WARMER in winter than here and seems to make a huge ton of difference.

I did have some out in a perennial bed on top of a slope by the garage here when I moved in - they were put in the spring before, but they don't bloom anymore even with feeding, and the bulbs have shrunk to almost nothing.

As I said, of the MANY I've tried planting the only ones that made it were from a rock garden mix - so smaller very tough ones. Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 6:12PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Hmmm, some tought luck Marie! But they shouldn't be as bad as you seem to think. I have grown Ice Follies (and a couple others whose names I have forgotten) for . . . 10 years and they keep coming back. I would think that the large "simple" ones like King Alfred and Mount Hood should be easy too. The ones with pink or peach center cups seem to be more choosy. But I do have to agree the the mini's are the easiest and most prolific. Tete-a-Tete, Jet Fire, Jack Snipe, to name a few. The Poet daffodils (Poeticas) are not hardy here. And my friend in the Daffodil Society says that no straight species daffodil is reliable here either.

In general, I would say that most of the daffs at big box stores are fine here. If they have tiny cups, read the fine print as they could have poet blood in them and might not be hardy. Of course, it is way to late to be planting daffodils outside now, but you could still put in lilies(lilium) and tulips.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 9:31PM
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Marie, Rick, thank you for your replies. I've got the info in my notebook and will definitely give daffs a try when the bulbs come in next season.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 1:14AM
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joyfulsnowflake(Zone 4)

Hi, Rick:

Your reply gives me hope. I planted some ice follies this fall (from Sam's club). I will report back next spring on how they fare. I will also give the mini ones a try next fall. I like easy and prolific stuff. :P


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 1:54PM
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I planted a bunch of a "naturalizing daffodil mix" from one of the big box stores about three years ago (when we moved to Duluth) and have had lots and lots of daffodils coming up each spring. At my previous home in western MN, I planted a large planting of "naturalizing daffodils" on the edge of our woods. They bloomed year after year (that is, until DH moved the fenceline for the horse pasture). After that, the horses ate the foliage and the daffodils eventually disappeared. I bought those daffodils through the Park Seed catalog. I plant daffodils where I can leave the foliage until they go dormant. I probably also used some bone meal when planting. Daffodils and forsythia make a nice combination if you are lucky enough to have them bloom at the same time.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 12:06PM
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joyfulsnowflake(Zone 4)

My daffodils bloomed beautifully in 2007, and came back this spring. Some have buds on them already. Hope they will survive the cold dip this weekend.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 12:34AM
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I finally learned to plant daffodil bulbs early, in mid September. The Minnesota Daffodil Society has a good list of ones that do well. I also amended my soil (somewhat sandy black dirt) with peat moss and made sure the bed was a little rounded with good drainage. With sandy soil it can freeze and rot the bulbs in March.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 1:23PM
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