Narcissus 'Tahiti': 14-16 inches tall, blooms in late season
Narcissus 'Replete': 18 inches tall, blooms in mid season
Narcissus 'Orangery': 16 inches tall, blooms in late season
Narcissus 'Sorbet': 16 inches tall, blooms in late season
Narcissus 'Peeping Tom': 14-16 inches tall, blooms in mid season
Daffodils are one of the sure signs that winter is waning and spring is on the way.
I know it's difficult to even think about spring right now when we are only barely into fall. But optimum bulb planting time is nearly upon us, so now is the time to start thinking about what to plant.
Most gardeners are quite familiar with standard looking yellow trumpet daffodils, miniature jonquil types and the classic bi-colored varieties (like 'Ice Follies').
However, the daffodil realm stretches much further than some of these mainstream varieties. A number of crazy-looking daffodils are great performers in the garden.
We'll start with the downright gaudy ones (which I love). Narcissus 'Tahiti' is one of the most loved daffodils at Riverbanks Zoo. With wild-looking yellow and orange double flowers, this variety is sure to make some people stare. Another great double flowered variety is Narcissus 'Replete,' which exhibits white outer petals with ruffled salmon-colored interior petals.
Another group of unusual daffodils: the split coronas (corona is the technical name for the "cup" of a daffodil). These daffodils have coronas that are split and lay open-faced against the petals, creating an unusual, yet beautiful flower. Narcissus 'Orangery' has creamy yellow petals and orange corona. With white petals and a corona colored with shades of white, orange and yellow, Narcissus 'Sorbet' is another fine selection.
Daffodils with recurved (curving backward) petals are striking selections for the garden. These look like the wind is blowing the petals backward even when the air is still and silent. One of my favorite varieties with recurved petals is Narcissus 'Peeping Tom.' In addition to the recurved petals, 'Peeping Tom' also has an unusually long corona that adds interest.
There are many other unusual daffodils, but the above are a few I've grown for years with excellent results. I love the standard, yellow trumpet daffodils that every garden needs . But your garden also could use some unusual varieties as well.
Daffodils should be planted in the fall after soil temperatures have cooled. Usually we begin planting around mid-November, but I've planted them as late as New Year's Day (although this is a tad on the late side). Daffodils can be purchased in the fall at local garden centers and through mail-order bulb companies.
Also, you can order bulbs from the annual Riverbanks Bulb Sale. Pre-order your bulbs at riverbanks.org/garden/bulbsale.shtml