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Growing Daffodils in the South

Recommendations for Growing Daffodils in the South

Although most Daffodils grow well through Zone 7, many that grow so brilliantly in the North fail to thrive in the heat of the South.  However, there are a number of Daffodil varieties that have stood the test of time in southern gardens.  Several of these heirloom classics perform beautifully in Zones 7, 8 and 9, as do their newer hybridized cousins.  None of them requires the artificial pre-chilling treatment. 

The Daffodils we've listed on our Bulbs for the South page show an amazing tolerance for heat and humidity.  But, to ensure your success we have the following recommendations:

1.  First of all, choose those Daffodil cultivars which have been proven to do well in warmer climates. The Tazettas, Jonquillas, Paperwhites and Cyclamineus Daffodils are your best bet, but several others, like Icefollies, St. Keverne and Carlton have proven to be winners.  (If you must have those Daffodils that need winter chilling, they should be treated as annuals; that is, pre-chilled and planted in the fall and then pulled up and tossed in the compost pile after blooming.  New bulbs will need to be planted the following fall.) 
2.  The recommendation to plant Daffodils 5 or 6 inches deep is for the North, but the bulbs can rot when planted that deeply in southern gardens.  We recommend you plant Daffodils no deeper than 1½ times their width (a little deeper than the bulb is wide).  If your soil is not well-drained, you might consider planting your bulbs in a raised bed.  
3.  Daffodils  benefit from a light pine-straw mulch after planting and should be watered regularly when rainfall is scarce, from early fall until the flowers fade.  After blooming, Daffodils should be watered sparingly so they dry off naturally.  Since soils in the South tend to be heavy and poorly drained, summer watering and fertilizer may rot Daffodil bulbs.
4.  All of those "full sun" recommendations are made for gardeners who get half the sunshine we do.  Shade, especially in the afternoon, or shade from trees is beneficial and will help Daffodil blooms last longer with more vivid color.
    5.  Although we love double Daffodils, they're not the easiest to grow in the South.  The varieties we've listed, like Cheerfulness, Erlicheer or Yellow Cheerfulness, are proven winners that have naturalized throughout the region.  Following our shade and soil recommendations will help you grow those borderline doubles you always wanted.

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