Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Peruvian daffodil (Ismene or Hymenocallis x festalis) is not widely planted or known, though the flower is beautiful and the plant is very easy to grow. Actually, it is not a daffodil at all. The blooms have an exotic appearance, something like a cross between a daffodil and crinum. Fragrant flowers are white or yellow. Glossy, evergreen, strap-like foliage adds a rich appearance to the garden. They have no serious insect or disease problems. Plant height is 18" to 24".
Hymenocallis is cold-hardy in USDA climate zones 8-10, preferring rich, moist but well-drained soil with pH in the range of 6.1 to 7.5. The plants prefer full sun, but light shade is tolerable.
If grown in colder climates, plant outdoors after danger of frost is past. A soil test will indicate any necessary soil amendments. Your local Cooperative Extension Service will send you soil sample to a lab for testing. Fees are nominal. Call their office for instructions.
Prepare the soil by cultivating deeply and incorporating recommended soil amendments. The bulbs should be planted 8" deep and 12" to 15" apart.
Flowers usually appear within two weeks of planting, so Peruvian daffodils are perfect for filling in garden spaces after flowers like tulips and narcissus have finished blooming. Blooms appear before foliage emerges, so the plants seem a bit naked for awhile.
In those areas where they are not cold-hardy, Hemerocallis bulbs should be dug just after first frost and allowed to dry. Roots must be left intact. After excess soil is removed, the bulbs can be stored in a warm, dark area of the home.
Peruvian daffodils are also excellent for container gardening, especially in mixed plantings. If forcing, the bulbs can be brought into flower by bringing them into a warm, well-lit room. After blooming, they can be planted outdoors when weather has warmed.
Return to Peruvian Daffodils at goGardenNow.com.