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Daffodils: A versatile temperate ornamental bulbous crop

Post by on Saturday, July 24, 2021

First slide
Locally Narcissus is called “Yamberzal” and Kashmiri and “Nargis” in Urdu and has prime importance in Kashmir as far as garden decoration is concerned.  The Word Narcissus is derived from the Greek word “Narke” which means numbness or stupor. Sometimes the name assigned is due to narcotic fragrance. It is very important to know the actual meaning of Narcissus and Daffodils as it confuses at certain times. Basically the two words are synonyms. From a botanical point of view all the daffodils belong to the genus Narcissus which indicates that daffodil is simply the common name for a Narcissus. In other words we may say that Narcissus is a Latin cum botanical name for all daffodils. Daffodil and Narcissus are essentially variants of the same flower and are members of genus narcissus. It can be defined as an ornamental bulbous plant with a beautiful flower having a cup shaped arrows within six lobed perianth. Around 25-30 species of daffodils are reported, however all are not cultivated. Currently around 18000 hybrid varieties of daffodils are available.
Commercial uses
Scent of narcissi has been an important ingredient of perfumes, a quality that comes from essential oils rather than alkaloids and Narcissi are also an important source of cut flowers and landscape flowers.
Division 1
Trumpet Daffodils
In Trumpet Daffodils cup is long or longer than the petals. In other words Corona is as long as or longer than the perianth segments. There is one bloom per stem.
Division 2
 Long Cup Daffodils
Important characters include one flower to a stem; corona more than one-third, but less than equal to the length of the perianth segments. In other words the cup length measures more than 1/3rd,but less than equal to the length of the petals. 
Division 3
Short Cup Daffodils
Important characters include one bloom per stem, cup length measures not more than 1/3 of the length of the petals  or we may say corona  not more than one-third the length of the perianth segments.
Division 4
Double Daffodils
Double Daffodils is characterized by doubling of the perianth segments or the corona or both.
Division 5
 Triandrus Daffodils
Characteristics of N. triandrus include two or more pendant flowers to a stem; perianth segments reflexed.
Division 6
Cyclamineus Daffodils
Wind-swept appearance (perianth segments reflexed), one bloom per stem, flower at an acute angle to the stem, with a very short pedicel are important characteristics of  N. cyclamineus.
Division 7
Division 8
Tazetta Daffodils
Characteristics of the N. tazetta include clusters of florets (usually more than three) on a stem, broad foliage and stem ,flowers are very fragrant and perianth segments spreading not reflexed.
Division 9
Poeticus Daffodils
Important characteristics of the N. poeticus include extremely white petals,small cup , crinkled disc, one flower to a stem; perianth segments pure white; corona usually disc-shaped, with a green or yellow center and a red rim and flowers fragrant.
Division 10: Bulbocodium Hybrids
Bulbocodium Hybrids is characterized by hoop petticoat form.
Division 11: Split Corona Daffodils
Split Corona Daffodils have cups split at usually more than half its length. In other words we may say  corona split rather than lobed.
Division 12: Miscellaneous
Miscellaneous include daffodils not classifiable by the first 11 divisions.
Division 13: Species Daffodils, Wild Variants, and Wild Hybrids
Species Daffodils, Wild Variants, and Wild Hybrids include wild and natural daffodils.
Miniature Daffodils
Miniatures are characterized by smaller blooms mostly less than 1½ inches in diameter.
Daffodils can be propagated both sexually and asexually.
Sexual Propagation
Daffodils can be propagated sexually by seeds. Seeds are obtained and then planted in protected areas (greenhouse). It takes a long time to reach flowering size bulbs and is rarely used by growers .Sexual method is used by breeders for evolving new varieties.
Asexual Propagation
Daffodils can be propagated asexually by offsets, stem bulblets, and by division of basal sections.
 Offsets (miniature bulbs) which are produced on the scales and stems of the parent bulb. Offsets can be cut off the parent bulb and planted in a moist, slightly acidic soil, in the fall of the year. These bulbs produce flowers within a few years.
Stem bulblets
        Stem bulblets are underground bulbils produced on the stem of the daffodil. These bulblets can be cut or peeled off and planted just like the offsets are.
Division of the basal sections
       The third type of asexual propagation of daffodils is the division of the basal sections of the parent bulb. There are four methods viz  scooping, scoring, coring, and sectioning.
1.   Scooping: The entire basal plate of the bulb is scooped out. The shoot and flower bud at the center of the bulb is removed, and the leaf bases are exposed, where small bulblets will develop. Treatment with fungicide is given to protect the cut surface. Scooped bulbs are then placed in a cool, dark location for about 2 weeks. Once new roots form on the developed bulblets, they can be planted. Scooping may produce as many as 30 bulblets per parent bulb. However, it may take up to 5 years to have a flowering size bulb. 
2.   Scoring: The entire center of the bulb is removed, leaving just the outer core of the bulb. Scoring can be done by making three v-shaped cuts through the basal plate creating six pie-shaped sections. These cuts will destroy the main growing point and should reach just below the widest point of the bulb. The bulbs can be placed in a warm, dark place at high humidity for a few months. Scoring will produce 12-25 bulblets from the mother bulb. It usually takes scored bulblets 3 years to reach a good size bulb and flower.
3.   Coring: The center portion of the basal plate of the bulb is removed. Cored bulbs can be treated as described for scoring. Cored bulbs usually produce larger flowers, and take less time to mature to a good sized flower and bulb than any of the other three methods.
4.   Sectioning: The entire bulb is cut into sections, like pieces of a pie. It is beneficial to treat with a type of fungicide to prevent disease. Each of these sections can be planted in the fall.
The best time to perform scooping, scoring, coring, and sectioning is in the summer (June-July)
Chipping in daffodil
Chipping is one of the best techniques for the propagation of daffodil bulbs. Harvest bulbs once the blooming is over and the leaves have died back. Inspect the bulb for mechanical damages, soft spots or other damage. These spots are susceptible to decay and should not be used. Clip off all root growth to the basal plate of the bulb. Using a sharp knife that has been sterilized. To chip the flower bulb, cut through the basal plate and divide the bulb in half from basal plate to tip. Divide those two portions in half again. Continue dividing until you have eight to  sixteen pieces depending upon the size of the bulb but a portion of basal plate should be  attached with each chip. Soak each of these chips in a fungicide solution for fifteen minutes. Allow the treated chips to drain.
Incubate chips in plastic bags with four to six pieces per bag. Different growing media viz vermiculite, perlite, sand etc can be used depending upon the availability. Add some water to moist the growing media before chips are planted. A growing medium of ten parts vermiculite to one part water is ideal for bulb chipping propagation. The chips should be covered with the medium. Blow air into the bag as an air supply and tightly tie off the bag. Store the bags in a dark place with a temperature of 20°C (68°F) for about twelve weeks. Monitor weekly and open bags in a situation where you find any rotting chips. Add air each time the bag is opened. It takes years for these bulblets to grow large enough to produce flowering size bulbs.
Twin-scaling is practiced by professional growers and skilled ones   to increase bulbs that would naturally propagate very slowly. Using twin-scaling it is possible to multiply one bulb into 16 to 32 (or more) depending upon size of bulb whereas natural propagation might only lead to a doubling every two years or so. Commercial growers can obtain a good number of  twin-scales from a single bulb if done in a professional manner as per scientific method.
•      ?Trim away the top growth and roots, but not the basal plate which is the flattened part at the bottom of the bulb where the roots develop. Peel off the tunic, or outer sheath, of the bulbs like the skin of an onion. Remove any dead parts of the bulb by removing the outermost scale until the bulb is clean and white. Then cut off the top one-third of the bulb. Wipe off any remaining soil and other debris from the bulbs. Allow them to dry for two to three days.
•      ?Cut each bulb into about four to eight segments, slicing from the top of the bulb to the bottom, or where the roots were. Make sure that each segment has a piece of the basal plate still attached; the basal plate is the portion at the base of the bulb where the roots develop. Carefully peel apart at least two of the layers on each segment Take care to leave the basal portion attached and intact.
•      ?Soak the Segments in Fungicide, soak for 10 minutes in a fungicide and allow them to air-dry. An alternative option for the fungicide is one part bleach to ten parts water.
•      ?Place the Segments into a Plastic Bag and Store. Seal them in the plastic bag with moist, sterile vermiculite, leaving air in the bag when you close it. Write the bulb name and date with the permanent marking pen on the outside of the plastic bag. Keep the segments in the bag in a warm, dark place for three months.
Time of planting
The optimum time of planting Narcissus (Daffodil) bulbs under Kashmir agro climatic conditions is Sep-Oct.
Optimum size of bulbs
Bulb size of 10-14 cm (circumference) is recommended for planting. 4000-5000 bulbs per 100 sqm are required.
Planting preparations
      Bulbs grow best in soils of high fertility and the purpose of the long-term preparation of land for bulbs is to raise the fertility of the soil by generous manuring for previous crops. It is generally agreed that high soil fertility should be maintained and potash requirement is high for bulbs. Around 16 tonnes of well rotten FYM or Sheep manure is required. However if vermicomost is to be used it should be used 3 times less than FYM or Sheep manure. Bio-fertilisers like Azotobacter, PSB and KSB have been found beneficial for improving the quality of flowers and bulbs. Besides this 150 kg N, 150 kg P and 60 kg k/ha is recommended as a source of inorganic fertilizers.
Depth of Planting: -
The depth of planting is an important consideration and it varies as per the size of the bulb. 10-13cm is recommended for Narcissus(Daffodils) depending upon the circumference of the bulb.
Intercultural operations
It includes weeding, rouging, nutrition, irrigation and spraying for pest management. These practices are carried out during subsequent growth phases after bulb planting as and when required.
It is an important practice for bulb production. It involves removal of flower heads, especially of stocks. Deheaded stocks yield a greater number of large bulbs with superior quality. The operation of deheading consists of snapping-off the blooms just below the flower. When the indication of colour appears in the flowers is considered the best time for deheading.
Daffodils prefer full sun and can also tolerate half-day shade. Those cultivars with orange, red, or pink cups generally retain deeper color when planted in a location that receives protection from the hot afternoon sun.
Watering during the fall is essential for good root growth before the ground freezes. Excessive water should be avoided  in the summer months when bulbs are dormant.
Fertilizer application
The best time to fertilize is in the autumn, when the bulbs are sending out new roots. In early spring foliage begins to push through the soil and this is another option of best time for fertilizer application . Granular slow-release fertilizers are beneficial for daffodil bulbs
Diseases and pests
Diseases and pests are not a problem with Narcissus(Daffodils). The bulbs and foliage are poisonous to most insects and animals.
The best time to divide and transplant bulbs is when their foliage has withered. Lift bulbs with a digging spade and  avoid any kind of  injury to the bulbs. Divide, sort or transplant the bulbs after following a proper procedure as per the requirement.
Lifting of Bulbs
Lifting must begin as soon as the bulbs are ready and should be completed as quickly as possible. Before lifting, any dead foliage or weed cover should be removed. This is done by moving off tops. Bulb lifting can be done manually or by using lifting machines.
        Time of bulb lifting is very important and it varies with different bulbous crops, season and the variety used. Normally, the correct time of lifting is determined by foliage. When foliage has died down completely, lifting is started.
        After bulb lifting, it is desirable to place them in trays to take straight them into sheds for cleaning, grading and storing.
        As bulbs are brought into the shed, it is most important to keep a careful check on the staking of the trays. On small holdings, cleaning may be done by hand but many bulbs can be handled by machines for cleaning.
        It is best to clean tulips first when the skins are still tought and before it becomes brittle.
1.       Grading refers to sorting of bulbs into various groups on the basis of their circumference. It is an important procedure and defines the superior and inferior classes of bulbs. The grading standards have been laid for almost every bulbous crop.
        Bulbs are stored in ordinary stores. Suitable airtight containers such as plastic or polyethylene bags make a safe storage possibly up to 6 months. Cold storage may be employed for longer storage. 

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