Multi-Colored Heirloom Daffodils

Multi-Colored Heirloom Daffodils
So many kinds of heirloom daffodils are available. These are especially suited to period gardens. Here are details on several of the multi-colored heritage varieties.

Actaea daffodil and the double pheasant’s eye daffodils are profiled below. In addition to these two wonderful varieties, gardeners can choose from other heirloom ones. These include Avalanche, which has been around since 1700, and Felindre, a pre-1930 heirloom.

Actaea Daffodil

This daffodil is one of the Poeticus narcissus. Virgil described this species of daffodil. Actaea has been around since 1919 or so. However, one source lists 1927 as its date of introduction.

Most suited to zones three through seven, this variety does best in cool climates. Actaea daffodil is unusual among the narcissus by withstanding much damper soils than most. It is a vigorous, old variety that naturalizes well.

This daffodil blooms from mid to late season, usually from very late March into April. The plant reaches sixteen to eighteen feet in height and bears one blossom per stem.

The oil from this species is found in perfumes. The blooms are three to four inches wide. The multi-colored flowers feature scalloped, rounded, overlapping snow white petals. These surround a short, small, shallow yellow cup with wavy edges. This features a green-yellow to yellow eye and an orange to red rim around the cup’s edge.

Although Actaea daffodil does resemble pheasant’s eye daffodil, the difference between the two is that Actaea petals are rarely reflexed.

Double Pheasant’s Eye Daffodil

This is also known as the double poet’s narcissus, The Latin name is listed as Albus plenus odoratus or Albus poeticus plenus. According to some sources, it has been in cultivation since 1626. However, the McClure & Zimmerman catalog lists the date as pre-1861.

At the present time, this is classified as a double narcissus, but that hasn’t always been the case. The plant is best suited to cool climates, zones three through seven.

Reaching a foot to sixteen inches in height, the double pheasant’s eye daffodil blooms from mid to late season, typically in May. The richly scented, gardenia-like flowers are very double and multi-colored.

The rounded petals are pure white and form overlapping whorls. At the center the petals look very short and frilly. The very small yellow cup has a red rim along the edges.

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