Are daffodils perennial? Everything you need to know about daffodils

Are daffodils annuals or perennials? This informational guide tells you everything you need to know about daffodils. From history and name origins to companion planting and care guides-- this article has you covered.
Are daffodils perennial? Everything you need to know about daffodils

Annual vs. Perennial: What’s the difference?

Annuals are plants that grow, flower, seed, and die off in a single year

Perennials are plants that grow and return year after year.

Are Daffodils Perennial?

Yes, daffodils are perennial plants. 

In fact, daffodils are some of the most reliable perennial bulbs there are. The bulbs form underground colonies that produce offspring. You won’t need to replace them– they will continue to bloom year after year!

To have a long and prosperous life, daffodils need the right growing conditions. If you take care of your daffodils, they will reward you for years to come. 

A Brief History of Daffodils

Perennial daffodils (Narcissus) are native to areas in the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and Asia. In nature, they grow in grasslands, scrublands, woodlands, riverbanks, and rock crevices. While not native to North America, daffodils thrive in zones four to eight.

In Europe, their popularity increased between the 16th and 19th centuries. Then, the Dutch began to expand the commercialization of plants. They began to distribute the bulbs to other parts of the world. Eventually, they made their way to North America. And the rest is history!

Name Origins:

The name Narcissus refers to the genus or group of plants daffodils are a part of. The legend is said to originate from the story of the tragic mythical Greek character by the same name. 

The Man, the Myth, the Legend:

Narcissus was revered for his beauty but was warned never to see himself. But one day, he spotted his reflection in the still waters of a pond. At that moment, he fell in love with himself. From then on, he never left his reflection and pined away. Legend says that the Narcissus plant sprung up where he had perished, forever to face the waters of its own reflection.

But which came first– Narcissus the person or Narcissus the plant?

The record of the name Narcissus predated the myth. The etymology, or root word, of Narcissus, was pre-Greek and meant “numbness.” Perhaps the beauty of the plant was intoxicating. Or maybe its fragrance left its admirers in a trance. No one knows for sure.

Why Are Daffodils so Popular?

Perennial daffodils seem to be everywhere in the spring. Along with tulips, they are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs. Here are what makes them a staple in many gardens:

They are easy to grow

Daffodils are one of the easiest plants to grow. They are low-maintenance and division is not necessary. However, for more blooming we recommend division every five years or so. Dividing the bulbs allows more space for the roots to expand. Also, it provides you with more bulbs to plant elsewhere or give away!

There are many species to choose from

It is estimated that there are around 50 species of perennial daffodils. Whether you are looking for all-white perennial daffodils or a yellow or orange daffodil, there are plenty of options.

They are great to plant with children

Many young children love playing outside and exploring nature. Planting with them can be a fun and easy activity that everyone can benefit from. 

Because the bulbs are large, they are easy to handle. Plus planting daffodils and other bulbs is a good learning opportunity. It teaches the little ones about nature and patience.

They are deer and rabbit resistance

Deer-related crop damage is on the rise. So, it is important to have some deer-resistant plants. Because of their bitter taste and mild toxicity, animals tend to avoid daffodils. Rest assured, your daffodils will be safe from deer (and rabbits).

How to plant Daffodils:

  1. Check your soil, the ideal pH range for perennial daffodils is 6.0-7.0. They prefer acidic soils but will tolerate alkaline soils. If you have heavy clay, we recommend that you amend the soil or plant the bulbs in containers
  2. Order or buy bulbs for autumn planting. Perennial daffodils need a period of cold temperatures for their dormancy. Planting them in the fall will allow them to bloom the following springs
  3. Find a sunny spot in the garden. Daffodils will tolerate some shade, but not full shade
  4. Toss your bulbs on the planting location and plant them where they land. This tried and true method of bulb planting makes it look more natural. You can plant more formally if you prefer, but not all bulbs may be successful.
  5. Plant the bulb pointy end up so that the tip is about 2 inches away from the surface. Cover gently with soil
  6. Mulch the ground with about 1 inch of mulch if you have it
  7. Water all bulbs immediately after planting
  8. Wait until winter comes and goes and then…
  9. Enjoy! 
  10. After 5 years or so, you can dig the bulbs up, divide them and replant as you see fit

Check Out Our Stock!

Yellow Perennial Daffodils

Many daffodil flowerheads stand up straight

These vibrant yellow daffodils are a classic. Their small, trumpet-like flowers will grow between 12 to 18 inches tall. They can be planted in clusters or by themselves individually. These daffodils thrive in full sun and well-draining soil.

To buy these timeless Yellow Daffodils, click here

White Perennial Daffodils

Fragrant daffodil flowers bloom in spring

This has a similar flower to the Yellow Daffodil, but it is all white in color with yellow stamen. The White Daffodil has elegant, fragrant flowers. Because of their striking appearance, passers-by double-take. Like the Yellow Daffodil, these can be planted in groups or individually.

To buy these elegant White Daffodils, click here

Perennial Grab Bag

Can’t decide on just one flowering perennial? Try our perennial grab bag. With this option, we will send you 10 plants that will return year after year. The most typical things we send are Daffodils, Yellow Coneflower, Periwinkles, and Daylilies to name a few. You can buy while supplies last, this is one of our more popular items!

To buy the popular Perennial Grab Bag, click here


Are all species of daffodils perennial?

Yes. In zones 4 through 8, daffodils will return year after year. It is essential that they are planted correctly and have the right conditions. Make sure the soil is loose and will drain properly.

How can I prevent animals from digging up my perennial daffodils?

While these are generally animal-resistant. However, there are some persistent critters that may try to dig up your bulbs. The best and easiest method of animal resistance is by using chicken wire. 

We recommend placing a panel of chicken wire on top of the ground where you have planted bulbs. You can cover this with soil, mulch, or put weights on the corners. The bulbs will grow up through the wire and the animals won’t be able to dig them up.

When should I plant perennial daffodils and tulips?

The best time to plant daffodils is in the fall. Tulips can be planted at the same time. Planting both at the same time ensures that you won’t accidentally dig up existing bulbs.

Daffodils and tulips can be planted in spring, but will not bloom until the following year.

How many kinds of perennial daffodils are there?

It is estimated that there are around 50 species of perennial daffodils in the Narcissus family. With such a wide range, there is a daffodil that can suit just about any garden.