Gardening Advice: Double Daffs Don’t Open


Gardening Advice: Double Daffs Don’t Open

November 19, 2002

Q: I have a clump of double daffodils that look healthy, but the buds never open and eventually dry up. We used to live in Oregon, and my daffodils did the same thing there. Is this a disease?Adrienne Hand, Roanoke, VA  

A: It’s the weather, and the problem, called “blasting,” is a fairly common one in some double daffodil varieties. Extremes in spring weather — cold, heat, drought — damage the bud, and the flower never opens. A windy spot aggravates the problems. I have a clump of ‘Obdam,’ a gorgeous variant of the fully dependable ‘Ice Follies,’ that has bloomed just once in eight years. Try other varieties, and you will find doubles that are well-suited to your microclimate. In general, late-blooming double daffs are more susceptible than the earlies, though there are some very dependable late ones like ‘Cheerfulness’, ‘Flower Drift’, ‘Manly’, ‘Tahiti’, and ‘Sir Winston Churchill’.  Some time-tested early-blooming varieties are the frizzy ‘Rip Van Winkle’, ‘Golden Phoenix’ (‘Butter and Eggs’), ‘Orange Phoenix’ (‘Eggs and Bacon’), ‘Van Sion’, and ‘Queen Anne’s’. These have all been popular for well over 100 years! ‘Golden Ducat’ and ‘Erlicheer’ (both 1934 introductions ) are also proven earlies. And there are many more. Before you ditch the daffodil you took the trouble to carry East, you might try it in another spot or two. This summer when the leaves have withered, dig the clump, and in the fall replant a few of its bulbs in various sheltered spots around your property. These should be warmer and cooler places, always out of the wind. You may find that in the right spot even this disappointing variety will get what it needs to put on a show.

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