It is now April and you can go into any nursery, garden centre or open a catalogue and there are daffodils for sale. Daffodils are probably the most popular of all flowering bulbs that gardeners want to grow in their garden, and for good reason, they are truly wonderful in a massed display. Unfortunately in many parts of South Australia and certainly the Yorke Peninsula they will only flower successfully the first year and after that they become blind bulbs with nice green growth but not a flower bud to be seen.
Why is this? you may ask and the answer lies in our mild winters. In order to set a flower all bulbs need the right conditions and daffodils need a cold winter to set the flower inside. If winters are too mild they will send up their leaves but never feel the need to flower so don’t. So what to do?.
If you are hoping to plant bulbs and leave them to naturalise and return to flower again then the daffodils are not going to do that on the Yorke Peninsula. If you are happy to consider them as annuals and plant new ones each year then go ahead because new bulbs have been grown in the correct chill conditions to guarantee flowering. Most of us, however, want bulbs to flower and increase every year so to get that effect you will need to find the bulbs suitable for your climate.
Should you be prepared to dig them up each year you could treat them the same way as tulip growers do and vernalize (artificially subjecting the bulb to cold conditions to set the flower) them in the fridge for six weeks before planting. This should provide you with flowers every year but is a lot of work.
Instead of daffodils, try to stick to jonquils who are happy to repeat flower in much milder conditions.
Many bulbs are sold in areas where they will not repeat flower and there is no easy way to look up if they will repeat in your area or not. That is the reason for this website. Many people are helping with collating and observing their bulbs and I will update various articles as more information comes to hand.
Joan from Kadina has sent me this list of bulbs that will not repeat in her garden: King Alfred Daffodils, Ranunculus, Anemone, Crocus.
Bulbs that repeat well include: Autumn Crocus (Colchicum), Lilies, Jonquils and Belladonna Lilies (Naked Ladies).