How To Grow The Peruvian Daffodil
The Peruvian daffodil, also called the spider lily, offers a display of intricately designed petals with an intoxicating fragrance. These fascinating flowers do resemble daffodils with their blossoms that are a distinguished trumpet shape however, the flower cups are actually encircled by six mysterious, long, spidery fingers.
This perennial flower blooms in the spring or the fall, depending on the variety, offering unique white blossoms with green stripes running through them which are complimented by their long green leaves that fall below the flower stalks. The Peruvian daffodil is insect and drought resistant and grows up to a height of two feet and offers a four to eight inch spread. Due to their eye catching appeal, they are ideal to use in beds, ground cover, borders, garden paths and walkways.
Native to South America, the Peruvian daffodil prefers zones 8 though 10 however, they can do quite well outside of this range as long as their bulbs are dug up before winter and stored in an area that is frost free.
Planting And Care
Bulbs should be purchased before the end of summer and it is important that they are plump and firm. When examining them, do not buy bulbs that have sprouted at all or that are discolored or soft. These bulbs will be planted in the end of summer to enjoy an early fall bloom.
The Peruvian flower prefers partial shade to full sun but as long as it gets some sunshine everyday it is happy. They also like a well-drained soil so if you have drainage issues you will either need to tend to this problem or plant them in containers. Ideally, the soil will be humus rich. Bulbs should be placed between 3 and 5 inches deep and about 12 inches apart.
Once they have quit blooming in the fall, you will cut away the faded flowers. However, the foliage you will leave behind so that it may continue to offer the bulbs nourishment. Over the winter it is a good idea to protect the leaves with a very light layer of mulch.
In the spring, you will want to cut away any remaining dead foliage and cover the area with a dense mulch layer to offer protection to the roots against hot summer temperatures and too much moisture. You should avoid disturbing the bulbs for the first few years but after that, you can dig up the bulbs and divide them to prevent overcrowding. All division should be completed in the fall.
Growing In Containers
The Peruvian daffodil can do quite well grown in containers if offered complimentary conditions. When doing so, you should plant the bulbs in the summer while they are still dormant. Always be sure that the container and the soil that you use provides adequate drainage. The bulbs should ideally be placed in a mixture that is one part sand, two parts potting soil and one cup of bone meal.
Place the bulbs in the surface of the soil and water thoroughly. Leave them alone and do not water them again until you see growth starting. As long as the foliage is green and healthy and the flowers are blooming, you will want to keep the soil moist. As the leaves begin turning yellow, cut them away. When this happens, stop watering until the next growing season. Bulbs grown in containers can be divided every three years.
When frost begins to become a threat, you will want to dig the bulbs up to get them prepared to be stored for the winter. Harvest them very carefully and leave some soil around the bulbs' roots. Lay them in a dry, cool location and allow the leaves to wither. Once this happens, you can cut them away and store them in dry peat moss with the tip-side-down.