By Nikki Phipps
If fragrance is what you are looking for in the early summer garden, then try planting Peruvian daffodil bulbs.
Peruvian Daffodil Culture
The flowers of the Peruvian daffodil (Hymenocallis narcissiflora), also called spider lilies, are noteworthy both for their intricate design and fragrance. They resemble the daffodil with their trumpet-shaped blossoms, except that the flower cups are encircled by six long, spidery fingers.
Peruvian daffodils bloom in mid-summer on 2-foot tall leafless flower stalks. Each stem may hold anywhere from 2 to 5 flowers, which are white with green stripes. The leaves are strap-like in appearance and may be up to two feet long.
Depending upon the species, growing Peruvian daffodils may be deciduous or evergreen, but all will make a dramatic statement in the garden.
Planting Peruvian Daffodil Bulbs
Native to S. America, Peruvian daffodils are hardy in zones 8 to 10, but can be grown outside this range if the bulbs are dug up and stored in a frost-free location over winter.
Choose an area in full sun or light shade for growing Peruvian daffodils, planting the bulbs in spring or fall in well-drained, humus-rich soil about 3 to 5 inches deep. Most of these plants will actually thrive in bog-like conditions. Peruvian daffodils can also tolerate sandy or clay soil; however, keep the soil moist throughout its growing period.
Peruvian daffodils make great container plants, and their lush, green foliage will remain attractive long after its flowering has ceased. Place container-grown plants indoors for over wintering, especially in colder regions. Simply move them to a well-lit room for the winter and reduce watering.
Peruvian daffodils make excellent cut flowers in the outdoor garden. These interesting plants will add additional charm to mixed beds and borders too. When the threat of frost is near, dig up the bulbs and prepare them for winter storage.
To store unplanted bulbs, harvest them carefully, leaving soil around the roots. Lay bulbs out in a cool, dry location until the leaves wither. Cut off these withered leaves and store bulbs tip-side-down in dry peat moss.
Propagate Peruvian daffodil bulbs in spring or fall by dividing the small bulbs, or offsets, that develop at the base of large ones. These bulbs can also be divided every four to five years to avoid overcrowding.
A note of caution when planting Peruvian daffodil bulbs in the garden, these plants are considered a favorite food source of snails.