Keith Kridler, Texas

Paper Whites blooming at cancer center

January 18, 2009

Categories: Daffodil Types, Displays & Specialty Exhibits, General, Growing Daffodils, Planting, Soil, Standards

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(I sent this to our MG group to show the importance of soil temperatures and how the location can affect what and where you plant stuff. Like most groups out of about 50 members, 18 are active and about the same 6<10 show up to work on every project:-)) I like to take a lot of photographs and send them to our whole group so that when someone tells the no- shows how great a project looks they can honestly say, YES I SAW how well that turned out!!!” KK)
On December 12th, 2008 our Master Gardener group planted a little over 1000 daffodil bulbs. One of the varieties was donated from our gardens, a true species called Narcissus Papyaceus or one of the many varieties known simply to most people as “Paper Whites”.
Normally, depending on the soil temperatures and rainfall this one will begin blooming as early as Thanksgiving or begin about a week before Christmas here at our house.
This first shot taken on the 17th of Jan. is at the Bo and Patty Pilgrim Cancer Center entrance doors. The wall is a south facing wall so it receives a LOT of sun. The doors/windows in the background face due west. If you will notice heat from inside the building seeps out through the concrete foundation and warms up the soil right next to the wall in the flower beds forcing the bulbs to bloom earlier the closer they are to the wall.
The back corner of the flower bed by the windows is protected more from the wind and also it gets some heat seeping through the building foundation so that soil is warmer than further out in the flower bed. The further away from the building you go the colder the soil and the more delayed the blooms are. For showing daffodils or getting a more prolonged bloom period out of the same variety of your bulbs you need to look for tiny micro climates on your property and plant the bulbs there.
In the spot the furthest from the building and exposed to the most wind and cold the buds on these bulbs are just breaking above the foliage. There will be almost a 30 day difference in the bloom time in this one flower bed from one end to the other with the exact same variety of bulbs that were all stored exactly the same.
Forty days or so after planting early blooming types of paper whites you can expect to start getting blooms. I normally figure if I need extra paper white blooms for a particular date I start planting groups of bulbs 8 weeks, then 7 weeks, then 6 weeks before I really need them. That way I have a longer bloom period and I am probably going to have the blooms I want when I want them.
If you go and look at the rest of the daffodils we planted that are exposed to the wind and cold you will not find them coming up yet as the soils are far colder out near the pavement. In this case they used concrete that is nearly white, it reflects more sunlight staying cooler during the day than black asphalt. During the night the concrete gives off more heat far quicker than well mulched flower beds and the cold from the concrete curbs soak back into the rest of the flower beds cooling them down more in degrees or maybe just a little bit cooler for a couple more hours of chilling each and every day.
Use a probe type thermometer and check the soil temperature around your flower beds and you will be surprised after a really sunny afternoon just how much difference there really is.
This soil temperature affects every type plant you have only most of them don’t show this dramatic of an effect. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas Zone 7-B Average temperature for December was 49*F or 10*C

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