Formally known as narcissus, the botanical name for the genus that encompasses all species and cultivars, many Southerners know them as jonquils—which are, strictly speaking, hybrids of one species, N. jonquilla. In England, though, and for other U.S. aficionados, “daffodil” covers the gamut of flowers large and small, early- and late-blooming, single- and multistemmed, costly and common.
Useful for their deer-resistance, they’ve been steadily improved for American gardens by commercial hybridizers like Virginia-based Brent Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. While British breeders focus on showstoppers and cut flowers, the emphasis in this country, says Heath, is on robust garden plants that grow and multiply well. Daffodils thrive in pots too, and Heath recommends layering bulbs among tulips, hyacinths, and muscari to create “living flower arrangements.”
Left: ‘Young American’ is a midseason, 18- to 20-inch-high reverse-bicolor yellow trumpet that opens yellow and matures to white. The similar ‘Spellbinder’ and ‘Galactic Star’ are available from johnscheepers.com.