Faded Beauty

I guess all good things come to an end sooner or later….That seems to be the case for our daffodil display at Brittlebank Park.

The bright yellow, late winter color show that the daffodils provided for three strong weeks has now faded as the spring and summer blooming plants step in to take their place.

Now that the blooms have faded, what do we do? What I like to do is to deadhead the spent blooms only AND allow all the foliage and the flower stems to remain in the garden. To “deadhead” simply means to remove the spent flower. It is a simple process that can be done with just your hands or if you prefer, a small pair of pruners. Just pinch or cut off the spent bloom at the top of the stem. We remove as little of the plant as possible. The reason for this is because the green stem and leaves produce the food for the bulb to store as energy for next year’s blooms. The green foliage and stems should remain in your garden until they turn yellow and start dying off naturally – usually 6 to 8 weeks from the time they stop blooming. The best thing to do is to just leave them alone and let them run their course.

I have a few reasons for deadheading. The first is a matter of choice, and that is aesthetics. To me, the daffodil plants and the garden as a whole will look neater and cleaner without all of the brown, shriveled-up blooms at the end of the stem. Another reason to deadhead is to be assured that all the plant’s energy is going into feeding the bulb for next year’s flower production instead of any energy being spent on possible seed production. Some daffodils will produce seed while some will not. Either way, the plant will be much more productive the following year when all energy is going directly to the bulb.

Daffodils are an excellent addition to most any landscape. They are low maintenance, cost effective and deer-resistant plants that give you a great display of color in the late winter and early spring. With the consistent addition of organic matter to you soil, proper watering, deadheading and allowing the foliage to die off naturally, the more likely you are to have consistent, plentiful blooms for years to come.

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