Early Season Daffodils: A Sure Sign That Spring Is On The Way

By Tonya Barnett | March 18, 2022
Image by VichianPetchmai
by Tonya Barnett
March 18, 2022

Like many growers, I often find myself walking through the garden rows in the middle of winter, in desperate search of the very first signs of life. While most perennials have settled in for a long winter’s rest, I cannot help but get excited upon noticing that some growth has resumed in my garden. Most often, the emergence of early season daffodil foliage is a sure sign that the weather may finally be changing for the better.  

When Do Daffodils Start Growing?

Anyone who has grown daffodils has likely experienced their eagerness to get a head start on the growing season. In the depths of winter, it is not uncommon to find their foliage beginning to peek above the soil level. While their early sight may be somewhat alarming at first, years of experience have taught me that there really isn’t too much to worry about in terms of potential for damage to the plant. 

Though winter may not seem like the ideal time for plant growth, many fall planted bulbs are quite active in terms of root development and preparation for spring bloom. Daffodils are certainly no exception to this. As the days lengthen and begin to warm, it’s only natural that green growth above the ground continues. On very rare occasions, some of my daffodils have experienced damage from frost and extreme conditions. Still, most of the growth tips seem to be affected only minimally. 

Some growers choose to begin mulching flower beds containing early blooming flower bulbs to protect them from cold. In my own garden, I have also used straw to protect delicate flower buds that have started to develop much too early. In doing so, however, it is important to note the mulch’s timely removal when spring weather patterns finally settle.  

While I have grown to favor specialty daffodil varieties with unique flower forms, several classic heirloom varieties remain in my garden for their early bloom period. Among these are varieties such as ‘Barrett Browning,’ ‘February Gold,’ and ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation.’ As early bloomers, these cultivars fill my vases and bouquets as I am able to welcome yet another growing season of fresh cut flowers from the ornamental garden.  

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