Daffodils – The full guide

5 min read

Daffodils announce spring with their trumpet-like flowers. They are a must for your garden and for your home. Daffodils are full of meaning and symbolism carrying a message of inspiration and forgiveness to both friends and family.

As you read this, you can learn the following:

* Characteristics of Daffodils

* History of the Daffodil

* Symbolism

* Daffodils in Literature and Art

* Planting and Care

Characteristics of Daffodils

Daffodils are a member of the amaryllis family. The frilled-edged petals come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, red, apricot, and orange. This plant can reach a height of 16 inches tall. Generally, they have between five and six leaves per bulb and one bloom per stem.

This perennial increases and spreads naturally from year to year. It is propagated by division and pollination. It is tolerant of cold and heat, in fact, the flowers turn to face the sun.

History of the Daffodil

The daffodil is native to southern Europe and northern Africa. The Latin name for the daffodil is Narcissus. In Greek mythology, Narcissus is the son of the river god. Narcissus was tricked into staring at his reflection in a pool of water where he fell in love with his reflection. From this point, there are two different endings to the myth. One, Narcissus drowned trying to capture his reflection. Two, as punishment for treating the nymphs poorly, he was transformed into a flower.

Symbolism

The daffodil is a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings because it is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. It also represents creativity, renewal, inspiration, and forgiveness. It is the symbol of strength and empowerment because, despite difficult conditions, it grows from a bulb. It can be relied on to return year after year. Therefore, it reminds us to never give up.

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The symbolism of the daffodil is read and interpreted through many different disciplines. In the realm of numerology, the six petals of the flower represent harmony and a warm heart. The number six also represents nature, motherhood, protection, and caring for others. In the study of chakras, yellow represents youth and energy. Yellow evokes confidence and warmth.

Daffodils are often associated with Easter because they not only bloom around the same time but because the flower is also associated with rebirth.

The daffodil is the national flower of Wales. The first bloom of the season occurs around the same time as Saint David’s day. David is the patron saint of Wales. It is believed that the first person to find the first daffodil of spring can expect a year blessed with more gold than silver.

Daffodils symbolize good luck, wealth, and good fortune in China. If a daffodil blooms on the first day of the Chinese New Year, the entire year ahead is filled with good luck.

In Japan, the daffodil represents joyfulness and mirth.

In France, daffodils are a sign of hope. Arabian countries believe the daffodils have aphrodisiac qualities and it is also a cure for baldness.

In Medieval Europe, people believed that if you looked at a daffodil and it immediately drooped, it was a sign of impending death.

Given on a 10th year wedding anniversary, the daffodil symbolizes joy and happiness.

The American Cancer Society uses the daffodil as a symbol of hope for a cure.

The daffodil is the official birth flower for March birthdays.

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Given in a bunch, daffodils are meant to ensure happiness. However, giving a single daffodil bloom foretells misfortune.

Daffodils in Literature and Art

Daffodils have been written about by many authors throughout history. The Greek poet, Stasinos wrote about the flowers of Cyprus when he wrote, “. . . so sweet and delicious and heavenly buds, the flowers of the narcissus and lily.”

In the Homeric Hymns, ‘To Demeter’, also celebrates the beauty of the daffodil, “The narcissus. . . from its root grew a hundred blooms and it smelled most sweetly.”

Shakespeare wrote in ‘The Winter’s Tale’, “When daffodils begin to peer.”

Dorthy Wordsworth wrote in her Grasmere Journal, “ I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones.”

Daffodils have not only been written about but are the subject of many pieces of art. Jon van Scorel painted ‘Madonna of the Daffodils with the Child and Donors.’ The painting depicts the Madonna lovingly holding Baby Jesus in her right arm as he reaches for her face. She clutches a bunch of daffodils in her other hand.

Vincent van Gough painted ‘Undergrowth with Two Figures.’ This painting shows uniform rows of tree trunks nestled in bright yellow daffodil blooms.

Planting and Care

Daffodil bulbs are best planted in late autumn two to four weeks before the ground freezes. They thrive in full or partial sun and are tolerant of a range of soils from neutral to acidic. They flourish, though, in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.

When choosing bulbs, choose the largest and be sure it is not dried out. Plant them at five times their own depth and cover with at least 3 inches of soil. Place the bulbs 3 to 6 inches apart. Avoid the temptation to uncover new shoots, the ground cover provides protection against the cold and frost. Keep in mind choosing a location in your garden, daffodils are poisonous to pets. The upside, they are deer and rodent tolerant.

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Apply fertilizer to poorly performing plants. In drier conditions, water plants to maintain consistent moisture. Deadhead flowers as they die, this sustains the life of the leaves. At the end of the season, divide plants that have become dense clumps.

Refrain from cutting the plants down once they die. The plants are in the process of storing energy in its bulbs for next year. Do cut dead leaves off by pruning at the base or by twisting and pinching off the leaves.

The cut flowers make beautiful arrangements in the home as well as in the garden. However, be aware that the cut daffodil secretes a fluid that causes other flowers to wilt. This can be avoided by placing daffodils in their own water for at least six to eight hours to draw out this sap. Afterward, the daffodils may be used in a mixed arrangement. The flowers are still safe to use after you trim the stems as basic maintenance of your floral arrangement.

Conclusion

Plant daffodils in your garden to start off Spring with a burst of color. No need to only plant yellow, through in red and white and pinks. Pollinators love them as much as you. They are a low maintenance plant that brings joy and beauty to your garden for years to come.

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