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Show #08/7108. Designing And Care Of Daffodils

Maintenance Concerns, Tulips and Deer

Jim has been planting daffodils at Gibbs Garden for over 40 years and they look more and more amazing every single year. Eric would like for Jim to talk about any of the maintenance concerns that there might be with daffodils. Let's start with fertility. Is there anything one should do from the standpoint of just making sure that they get the nutrition they need? If you want more blooms, it's better to use a fertilizer that's low in nitrogen and low in phosphorus, high in potassium. So 10-10-20 is a good fertilizer to apply. Put that on in December when the little buds are coming out of the bulb, but barely noticeable. One can simply go through with a lime spreader and spread the fertilizer over the area.

Eric would like to talk about insect and disease pressure. Is there anything that is trying to attack our daffodils throughout the year? Jim feels the daffodil is the lowest maintenance plant you can ever plant. They absolutely are wonderful and daffodils have no requirements. They divide on their own, they're perennial, so they're easy to grow. They're sort of taking care of themselves maintenance-wise.

Tulips, on the other hand - Our summers in the south are too hot, they cannot go through a summer, so they won't bloom the next year. Jim pulls them up and throws them away. Tulips, you have to spray with a deer repellent. Deer love tulips. If it rains a lot, you do it once a week. If it doesn't, once every two weeks. So that's a lot of maintenance.

But DEER will not ever touch daffodils. The reason is the calcium oxalate that's in the sap of the daffodil is causing a poison to develop in there. So when the deer eat into the daffodil, they will never touch a daffodil again. So you have no problems with deer. Finding a category of plants like daffodils that the deer don't want to eat and require almost no maintenance, Jim doesn’t think there is a more perfect plant.


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