Daffodils and minor bulbs (spring-blooming miniatures) equal enduring landscape groupings here in the Roanoke area. All daffodils and most minor bulbs are deer and garden pest resident. They all grow well when planted in sunny or partly shady locations in well-worked soil. Daffodils planted with minor pest-resident bulbs create stunning and hardy spring displays in garden landscapes.
What’s in a name?
Daffodils are the most versatile of spring-blooming bulbs. Choices vary from large classic yellow ‘King Alfred’ daffodils to the antique poet’s narcissus ‘Pheasant’s Eye.’ All daffodils are Narcissus, botanically speaking, regardless of any cultivar (cultivated variety) names or common nickname.
Daffodil is the familiar (vernacular) name for all members of the genus Narcissus. The American Daffodil Society recommends using the word daffodil, instead of nicknames like jonquil, at all times, other than in scientific writing.
Minor bulbs unofficially labels groups of spring-blooming bulbs other than daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus. The minor bulbs look small, sometimes shriveled and produce small flowers. However, most are pest-resistant, naturalize, and spread well when planted in favorable plant hardiness zones such as Roanoke’s plant hardiness zone 7.
What is Pest-Proof?
According to information from the International Bulb Centre, animal pests consider some of the most popular bulbs, such as tulips and crocuses, treats. Pests usually shun bulbs like daffodils and alliums because of their bitter taste.
No spring-blooming bulb is one-hundred-percent pest proof says Timothy Schipper of Colorblends. Two factors that regulate the resistance of spring-blooming bulbs to local deer and rodent populations in garden landscapes are numbers of animals and amount of food available to them. Hyacinths and Muscari (grape hyacinths) though often considered pest-resistant are not really because most gardeners’ experiences show these two plants make choice eating for hungry deer.
Types of minor bulbs
These special bulbs demand special attention when designing pest-proof spring-blooming bulb displays says Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center’s Sally Ferguson. Pay close attention to instructions received with the bulbs or specific details in bulb books. Here are some types of minor bulbs that all grow well in the Roanoke area:
- Allium (ornamental onions),
- Anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower)
- Camassia leichtlinii (Wild Hyacinth, Quamash) – a northwest U.S. native
- Chionodoxa luciliae (Glory of the Snow),
- Crocus tommasinianus (Tommy Crocus)
- Eranthis hymalis (Winter Aconite)
- Fritillaria meleagris (Snake’s Head Fritillary)
- Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops)
- Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish Bluebells)
- Iphelion uniflorum (Spring Starflower, Triteleia)
- Leucojum aestivum (Spring Snowflake)
- Scilla siberica (Wood Squill),