Protecting daffodils

tigerdawn(7)March 17, 2010

I know from growing up that any daffodil bud with petals showing can't handle freezing temps. But I have a LOT of daffs right now. Do I need to cut them and bring them inside or would a covering of some sort be feasible?

Here's the bed last year around this time. I don't have quite as much open yet but I could by Saturday.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tigerdawn,

I'm hoping Dorothy sees this and answers it because she has thousands of daffs. I only have a couple hundred.

I've grown daffodils for about 25 or so years and have very, very seldom seen them suffer much damage, if any, from freezing temperatures, frost or snow. They usually bounce back quickly from those, although they might look droopy early in the morning after a hard freeze. They tend to pop back up and look fine after the sun's been up a couple of hours and the temps are warmer.

Just this year, my daffs have been exposed to temps in the mid-20s several times and in the low 30s more times than I can count, as well as frosts and heavy wind. They've shown no damage from any of those conditions.

If you want to cover them up, you can, but I doubt it is necessary. It would be better to cover the blooming ones with buckets or just to pile up loose mulch, leaves, straw, hay or compost around them and then loosely scatter a little gently over the top of them. A heavy blanket or sheet or row cover might break their stems, especially if it is windy while they're covered.

Of course, I am sure some types may show more cold tolerance than others. I know the tazetta types don't have a lot of cold-tolerance, but I don't grow any of those types myself.

Do you know how low y'all are forecast to go? We're only expecting the low 30s here, but we've been colder than forecast every night this week, so I am not sure what to expect. I know we'll be getting polar air and arctic air, so am sure the cold will feel brutal to us, but maybe less so to the daffs.

Dawn

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:01PM
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p_mac(7)

Tigerdawn - that's a beautiful bunch you have there!

I only have maybe 150 that I've planted over the last 4 years...but I had them at my previous home in the City. They act a lot like pansies, I think. They might be a little droopy in the morning after a freeze, but they pop right back up (as far as my experience). I don't think you need to do anything to protect them.

In answer to Dawn's question, Tigerdawn lives only about 10 miles NE of me and we've got a possiblity of a low of 29 on one nite. I think they'll be fine. Anybody have any other experience? If so, I'm gonna have to find buckets because most of mine border my long and winding driveway.

Paula

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:22PM
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mulberryknob

I do have a couple thousand daffs blooming right now and other than going out and picking an armload this am, I'm done with "protecting" mine. Actually my experience is the same as Dawn and Paula's. Already this year my buds have been frozen several times and have bounced back. In years past I remember a very hard freeze followed by sleet and snow wiping out the early daffs, but I doubt that the high 20s that are forecast will hurt them. I still have a couple thousand to bloom. All the late double yellows, some whites and the very latest white and yellow blends. (I don't know the names of many of mine as most were passed on to me--some 40 years ago.)

But if you are worried, I would try the upturned bucket idea with a rock on top so they won't be blown over.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:14PM
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tigerdawn(7)

So going out and making bouquets the evening before a freeze was just my mom trying to find an excuse to get flowers in the house? ;-)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Possibly. : )

It depends, though, on where you grew up. I know some daffs will grow all the way to to the US-Canadian border, but am not sure when they bloom there or how much cold they're exposed to after they start blooming.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 9:50PM
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soonergrandmom

I have seen snow cover the plant to the bottom of the bloom and they lasted just fine through that. Mine seem to be damaged more by a heavy rain that beats them down, more than they are bothered by snow and cold.....but everything has it's limits.

Dorothy, I would love to see a picture of yours in bloom. I have been to Southwest City MO (a lot) in the last couple of weeks, and there are hundred of dafs growing along the roadway there. They look so pretty in bloom. I have dafs in my yard, but most of them are planted in a row and I think they look better planted in clumps. I don't mean the row is just a single daf, but it is a row none-the-less. I keep saying that I am going to dig them up and re-plant, but I never get it done. I probably should remove a few this year anyway. I know you are supposed to leave them until the foliage dies back, but they get so ugly that I usually mow them down long before the total brown stage.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:57AM
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gldno1

Add me to the never cover them group!

Mine are so scattered it would be a problem to try to cover them.

Dorothy, I would love to see those daffs too! Please.

Glenda

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 7:03AM
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mulberryknob

Well, if I knew how to post a pic I would put one on here. Carol I think I still have your email. Glenda send me yours and I will send you two a couple photos. Then if either of you know how to post perhaps you would do that for me so people won't think I am exaggerating. (Actually, over the past ten years, I've given away at least a thousand daffs and a thousand naked ladies. Give the things 30 or 40 years and they can take over your world.)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 1:36PM
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soonergrandmom

Dafs from mulberryknob's yard. I am having trouble getting more than one pic to post, but I can get this one in.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 9:55PM
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tigerdawn(7)

Beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 8:46AM
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tigerdawn(7)

Here are some pics from today

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 7:16PM
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mulberryknob

I'm curious to know if you covered them. Did you get snow?

My poor daffs got covered by 10" and I didn't cover any--all the buckets were on the cabbage. I'm heartsick about mine but still hoping they will come through it and the ones that haven't bloomed yet will still bloom. Time will tell.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy,

I hope your daffs perk up and carry on as if the snow never occurred.

My daffs are fine. They were bent over to the ground but straightened up as soon as the snow melted. Of course, the 1/2" of snow that fell here barely qualified as snow....it was barely worse than a really heavy frost.

Dawn

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 2:37PM
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tigerdawn(7)

I didn't cover my daffs. We got about 4 or so inches and they weren't very happy but they seem to be recovering well today.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 6:54PM
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soonergrandmom

Mine will have to learn to swim first.....ugh, too much water.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:21PM
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Lisa_H(7)

I didn't cover any of mine. They seemed to make it through pretty well. I'm not sure they are quite as perky as they were right before, but they all survived and are still blooming.

Lisa

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:57AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I like the small ones tete a tete is one name but there are others. They don't flop after a rain as bad as the longer stem ones.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:20PM
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mulberryknob

My Tete a Tetes came through great but the King Alfreds and the Ice Follies are mostly laying on the ground. The later blooming ones that the stems were only about half up look ok. Thalia is one of the white ones. Most of the double yellows are also on the ground and they hadn't opened up yet. But they are so heavy that it doesn't take much to lay them over.

The forsythia bushes look great and the potted pansies were covered in snow--10" or more--and when it melted they look great. So do the bloodroots.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 5:26PM
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soonergrandmom

Last year I dug up my 'Naked Ladies' because we were building an addition in their spot. After someone mentioned them on the forum the other day, I tried to remember what I had done with them. A couple of days later, I walked past a flower pot that had a hanging basket sitting in the top of it out by my shed. The bottom container was a lot bigger than the hanging basket and there were Naked Ladies growing all around the basket. I moved the basket and they filled in the entire pot. I guess I just got busy and never remembered to plant them into the ground again. All winter I just thought I had an empty pot sitting there.

I also had a flat that had several pots left in it last year that never got put in the ground. The flat was on top of the septic tank in an out of the way place so I just left them there. I blew leaves onto the flower bed behind them to add a little winter protection and of course the flat and pots there got covered as well. Today, I noticed that the plants are starting to poke up through the leaves. Now that's the kind of plants I need...the ones that thrive on neglect. I think it takes a strong plant to make it through a cold winter in a four inch pot. LOL

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:12PM
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Lisa_H(7)

Carol, I have some belamcanda (blackberry lily) that made it through winter in a 4 inch pots :) I did throw them up next to the south facing foundation, but they were greatly neglected...fell over...potting soil tumbling out. Sad, sad. This plant can take serious neglect! Do you need any? :) I have seeds out the wazoo!

Lisa

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:56AM
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mulberryknob

When I went out this morn the majority of my daffs even the big King Alfred and Ice Follies were standing back up. YAY!!

Lisa, I used to have blackberry lily and lost them when the dogs decided to dig up some varmint that had already damaged the roots, so I would love to have some seed. Want some Naked Ladies come May?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:08PM
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tigerdawn(7)

The daffs are still doing well! I'm going to have to divide them this year I think. Is there a good way to go about that?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:30PM
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OklaMoni

I should take a pic of my daffs.... haven't done it yet this year. Most time, just to windy.

soonergrandmom just plant some more, in clumps, near the line... I bet, it will jazz it up. ;)

Moni

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:54PM
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soonergrandmom

That's probably true Moni. Mine did stand back up after the rain and snow. We have had almost 4 inches of precip in the last 7 days according to mesonet. We had 2 inches between midnight and noon today.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:27PM
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mulberryknob

tigerdawn, the best time to dig/divide daffs is after the foliage begins to die but before it disappears. For me that is May. I dig a clump, drop several back into the hole and move the others into a new area, replanting immediately usually although sometimes I've thrown them down in the shade and waited until Sept or Oct to replant. The guides tell you to put daffs down 6" but that isn't necessary either. I have "planted" a couple hundred by just scraping enough of a hole to place the bulb halfway into and a couple hundred more by throwing them on the ground in Oct before the oak leaves fall. The only year that didn't work was the fall of 05. Too dry that year and a lot died. And did you know that daffs selfseed if they are not deadheaded. It takes a seedling a couple years to get big enough to bloom, but that is another way to get increase. I thought I saw a seedling in your neighbor's yard in your first two pics. Doesn't look like it bloomed.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 11:03PM
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