Here is a question that I received from Julia in Virginia:
My daffodil leaves are already up 6″ or so and I can see some small flower buds. I’m wondering if they will be OK with 8 weeks left in winter. It seems awfully early for them to be up.
That’s a common concern when we have temperatures that have been as mild as they have this winter. The good news is that daffodils are hard wired to survive the ups and downs of early spring weather and that’s really what we are experiencing now. If temperatures are predicted to drop into the low teens and you have either open flowers or buds that are about to open, you may want to take some measures to protect them. You can lay a lightweight cloth like a bed sheet over them or mulch over them with straw or leaves. Whatever you do, make sure that you uncover them during the day.
If the weatherman is predicting low temperatures like I mentioned above and the buds are close to the ground or haven’t emerged at all yet, I wouldn’t do anything to protect just the foliage. The ground has an amazing insulating effect and the temperature there is generally warmer than the surrounding air in the winter. The foliage may be burned at the tips but it will still function just as it should to produce energy for next year’s flowers. A little something to remember when it comes to protecting plants from unexpected freezing temperatures: air is THE best insulator. If you are lucky enough to have snow on the ground when the temperature dips, you shouldn’t have to worry at all as snow is full of air. If you’d like to read more about bulbs of all kinds and their care be sure to check out Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. They are a Gloucester, VA based company and they have oodles of information to share…just make sure that you tell them that you heard about them on www.midatlanticgardening.com. If you have a question that you’d like to have answered, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy gardening!