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Dwarf Daffodil: A Tiny, Early Spring Flower

Dwarf daffodils in a small tea pot.

Dwarf daffodils in a small tea pot.

Bright and Colorful Dwarf Daffodils

Dwarf daffodils are true harbingers of spring. The tiny, bright yellow flowers that bloom in late winter or very early spring are diminutive versions of their larger cousins.

Though they appear in several color variations, including mixed yellow and white, mixed yellow and orange, and pure white, my personal favorite is Narcissus Tete a Tete, the traditional sunshine yellow of an old-fashioned daffodil. And like traditional daffodils, they are a natural gopher and deer repellant.

I love to bring some indoors to create the year's first floral arrangement. They brighten up any room with their sunny, trumpet-shaped blooms and remind us that spring is right around the corner.

Dwarf daffodils blooming in the snow.

Dwarf daffodils blooming in the snow.

Planting and Growing Dwarf Daffodils

Daffodils grow from bulbs planted in the fall. Wait until the nights begin to cool but before the ground begins to freeze.

Where to Plant Them

Select an area where the small flowers can be seen to their best advantage. Dwarf daffodils look wonderful in rock gardens. Plant them under a small tree, near the front entrance of your house, so you can see them every day.

Always plant bulbs in rich, well-draining soil in clumps of five or more (odd numbers always look best).

If you want to plant in drifts, toss the bulbs onto the ground and plant them where they fall for a natural look.

How to Grow Them

Dig a hole four times the height of the bulb. Sprinkle one tablespoon of bone meal into the hole. Mix in a bit of compost. Place the bulb pointy side up into the hole. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down.

The daffodils will multiply. When they do, dig them up and divide after flowering. Do not cut back the foliage until after it turns yellow, as the foliage helps the plant to store energy for the next year.

If you purchase the daffodils in the spring in a pot, plant outdoors as soon as the flowers fade. Some spring bulbs that are purchased in full bloom have been forced and may not bloom again the following year. Forcing means that the bulbs were subjected to an artificial winter chill. They may need several years to gather the strength to rebloom.

This arrangement also includes rosemary in flower, horsetails, and some sphagnum moss.

This arrangement also includes rosemary in flower, horsetails, and some sphagnum moss.

Dwarf Daffodils in Flower Arrangements

Dwarf daffodils, like the larger version, produce a sap that can be toxic to other flowers. To avoid poisoning other flowers in an arrangement, even a tiny one, you can try several things.

  • Pick—do not cut—the daffodil. When you cut the stem with a knife or scissors, the daffodil oozes a sticky toxic sap. Picked near the base, the stem may be more solid and will not ooze.
  • Place cut daffodils in water overnight. By the next day, they will no longer produce the sap. However, if you recut the stem, the sap will begin to ooze.
  • Of course, you can't just plop the daffodils in any vase, they are too small. And even in a tiny container, their pretty heads droop down. Once you find a small enough container, use a kenzan or flower frog to hold the delicate stems in place. A kenzan is a round, heavy, metal disk with upturned spikes. Set it in the bottom of a container with the spikes facing up. A kenzan will support daffodil stems better than floral foam.

Group flowers, moss, bare sticks, and pussy willow in a low, shallow dish or basket. Create a natural scene by placing dwarf daffodils in small clumps.

Arrange dwarf daffodils in a small vase, teapot, or cup, along with a bit of fern or herbs.

Here is a kenzan underwater.

Here is a kenzan underwater.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.