Once a year, in honour of the fantastic-ness that is Mum, we celebrate Mothering Sunday. Today, it’s gardening mums in particular.
If you have a gardening mum, a glowing bunch of daffodils will be certain to brighten up her day, especially if you present them all ready to be displayed.
That doesn’t mean you have to shell out on a brand new vase, however. An old shoe box that you have lying around, cluttering up the bottom of a wardrobe will do.
We visited Poplar Tree Garden Centre in County Durham, to find out a bit more about growing daffodils, even when your budget is limited or space is small. They gave us this super simple, step-by-step guide on how to grow daffodils in a shoe box, especially for Mother’s Day.
Firstly, you will need a shoe box. We chose this lovely one from Gabor shoes. Try decorating it with some Mother’s Day wrapping paper to make it extra special.
To make sure it doesn’t get damp and break down, you’ll need to line it. Take a sheet of waterproof plastic and lay it in the box, pushing it into all of the corners. Make sure it is bigger than the box and comes out the top – you’ll be cutting it to size later. This will stop it getting soggy when you water your plants!
If you’re looking to present your daffs beautifully, go to your local garden centre and get some that have already been potted. The best time to get them is when they are in their ‘bud stage’ – just before they blossom.
Then pop the plants inside, side by side and still potted, to see how many you can fit in.
Now take them out in preparation for the fun bit – actually planting them! Ease the flowers out of the pot, keeping the soil compacted around the roots. You’ll be able to see them on the bottom of the clump.
Fill around them with compost until it’s all level, leaving a little room at the top for watering.
Once it’s full, and all of your flowers are standing up, take some scissors and cut the plastic wrap down to size, so it’s nice and neat.
Once you’ve gifted your daffodils, they should bloom within a day or two, as they come out in the warmth of spring.
We had a chat with Jane from Poplar Tree Garden Centre, who gave us some handy tips on how to look after your daffodils and what you, and your gardening mums can plant after Mother’s Day. She even let us take some pics too!
How many can you plant in the space?
Daffodils will tolerate some crowding but prefer to be spaced 3 to 6 inches apart.
How else should you take care of your daffodils?
Daffodils require minimal maintenance. They like to be watered regularly in the spring and fall. Stop watering about 3-4 weeks after the flowers fade. They go dormant during the summer and prefer a drier soil.
Fertilizer: Daffodils are pretty self-sufficient, but if you have poor soil or the plants aren’t flowering as much as they should, top dress with bulb food or bone meal, when the leaves first emerge. Lightly feed again when they flower.
Dividing Daffodils: Daffodils can easily out-live you and may bloom and spread for decades. However sometimes they abruptly stop blooming, a condition called going “blind”. It may be an insect problem, too much shade or perhaps they have moved too far down in the soil and need to be lifted. If you want to divide your daffodil bulbs, lift them after they have finished flowering and replant asap.
What else would you recommend growing in a shoebox after Mother’s Day?
Experiment with a few pots of different varieties. One to try is the distinctive ‘Princess Irene’. This single early tulip is orange with purple flame markings. The bright yellow ‘Monte Carlo’ and pink Angelique are double early tulips, a cultivar that has twice as many petals as most tulips.
Tulip Tip: Plant bulbs with flat side facing the rim, this will position the larger outer leaves toward the pot rim, where they will drape gracefully over the edge of the pot.
Lily-of-the-Valley are often pre-cooled when you buy them, so they will bloom three to four weeks after planting. Ask your supplier.
Freesias don’t require a cooling period; however they usually require a lot of sunshine and about three months of growth time before they bloom. These fragrant flowers do best in a very bright room with daytime temperatures of about 70°F and nigh time temperatures of about 50°F.
What other tips would you give for gardening in the Spring?
Look after your Daffodils after they have finished flowering if you want a good show the following year as well. This advice is for daffodils planted anywhere!
Never cut the foliage off – let it die down naturally, for during this time, the foliage is necessary for supplying the underground bulb with the food it needs in order to start preparing its flower buds inside, ready for next spring. Daffodil bulbs are quite busy little things. You may only see the results in the spring, but much is going on inside of the bulb for most of the year!
Right after flowering, feed the area with a good liquid feed – tomato feed is suitable – over the foliage and into the ground. This helps the bulb to build up the reserves it needs to produce flower buds throughout the early summer.
Remove all of the faded flowers as soon as possible – including the little bulbous seed head that soon forms behind the fading flowers.
We hope you have fun in making a gift especially for gardening mums … we certainly enjoyed finding out about it!