Think daffodils, think yellow. But the sunshine color is not your only choice when picking daffodils to plant this fall.
The choices extend well beyond the beloved solid yellow daffodils such as Carlton or Dutch Master that are so loved that it is difficult to think beyond them.
But both pink and orange are such spring-like colors that it is great to add them to flower beds or container gardens, just to make a little difference in the look.
Look over the array of boxes holding fresh bulbs in garden centers or flip through the catalogs and get a glimpse of them. These varieties tend to include pink or orange as the center or edgings of cream or white daffodils. For example, the Salome daffodil is considered pink for its lovely pink center ringed in white petals. This is a long-lived, high-performing daffodil that has been around a long time and really stands out in a flowerbed.
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Fortissomo is more dramatic, having a bold orange center cup ringed in bright yellow petals, a standout. Not only is the color bold, the blooms are quite large, and can be 6 inches in diameter. Professor Einstein is another choice, but its reddish-orange center has white petals all around it, a wonderful contrast for another reliable daffodil that stands up well in the sometimes unruly weather of mid-spring.
Expanding your color choice allows you to cater to your particular tastes as well as offering contrast to other spring colors, such as the bright azaleas in bloom with the daffodils.
October is a great month to pick these bulbs, but you can delay planting until November to allow time for bed preparation. Don’t overlook the chance to plant daffodils in large containers, where they will prosper. Topping them with pansies of a great color, perhaps purple pansies over yellow daffodils gives dramatic results and extends the time of enjoyment because pansies have a very long season of bloom.
Whether you plant in beds or containers, well-drained soil lightened with compost is essential to daffodil success. In a bed, set the bulbs about 8 inches deep and fertilize with a product such as Bulb Booster sprinkled into the bottom of the hole.
Many gardeners plant them in beds that have been occupied by summer flowers since late spring and are now ready – or past ready –- to be replaced. You should think of daffodils as longtime residents of these beds, but they can been over planted with small annuals as the foliage turns yellow in late spring.
Q. I have beautiful hostas planted in large pots that did well and weren’t bothered by voles like they are in the ground. What should I do about them this winter?
A. Leave them in the pots. The foliage will die down naturally with cold weather. But the roots will do well in the pots through the winter and be ready to send up new growth in spring.