Daffodils for Florida? Yes!

As someone who learned gardening in the Northeast, the annual ritual of bulb planting became one of my happiest seasonal markers. I was so excited about planting my first bulbs that the first time I ordered more than 700, which, since I gardened at a place appropriately named Shale Hill, proved to be an ambitious undertaking. Now I garden in Florida, and while there aren’t the changing leaves and crisp days telling my system it’s time for bulb planting, I still hear a seasonal Siren’s song.
I knew you could plant paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) in the ground here, so I figured there must be other daffodils that might work as well. The most detailed information I found was from Old House Gardens (www.oldhousegardens.com), a company that specializes in heirloom bulbs. They listed five that were said to do well as far south as zone 9b, my zone. They are all “tazetta” type narcissus, which means they have clusters of three or more strongly fragrant florets on a stem, and they are known for doing well where winters are on the warm side, a trait that in colder climates makes them good candidates for forcing.
The youngest of these cultivars has been around since 1934, while “Grand Primo” dates all the way back to 1780, so they all have a long history of proving their garden merit. It will be interesting to see how well they fare in mine.
"Avalanche" dates to at least 1906, but may well be the bulb Thomas Jefferson planted at Monticello as "Seventeen Sisters." (Photo via brentandbeckysbulbs.com)
"Early Pearl" dates to the late 1800s, where it was discovered growing in gardens in the "Spanish Moss Belt." (Photo via oldhousegardens.com)
"Erlicheer" is a double-flowered daffodil dating to 1934. (Photo via brentandbeckysbulbs.com)
Prized since the 18th century, "Grand Primo" is known for its vigor. (Photo via southernbulbs.com)
"Minor Monarque," from 1809, is a very early bloomer. (Photo via oldhousegardens.com)

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