The sea daffodil

The sea daffodil is without doubt one of the most beautiful plants of the south-western Mediterranean. You can find it growing on the coastal sands or just above the high tide mark, and as its common name suggests, it is a genuine bulbous plant. However, despite appearances is not remotely related to the daffodil.

Sea daffodil blooms
Luckily for those us who wish to grow this gorgeous specimen in the garden then you can, so long as you try and mimic is natural environment as best as possible. It will require a very sunny position and a very well-drained, sandy soil. You can improve your soil by adding plenty of horticultural grit or grit-sand, but in cooler regions you may be better off growing it a pot.

The Sea Daffodil will needs a hot summer in order to induce flowering and is often a shy bloomer in cooler climates. Again, growing in a pot will provide a warmer root environment and will also make it easier to move around should it need the encouragement of a month or two in a greenhouse.

It is hardy to USDA zone 8, and surprisingly will tolerate temperatures down to about −5 °C (23 °F). However I would rather not take that risk myself and instead overwinter in a frost-free greenhouse.

How to grow the Sea Daffodil from seed

Sea daffodil seeds
As with many bulb species they can be propagation either by seeds or division after flowering. If you have collected your own seed they then will germinate quickly in just a few weeks.

You can sow them into either pure grit-sand or a good quality, well-drained compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting', with added horticultural grit, perlite or vermiculite for better drainage. If you can get it, mix in 30% volcanic grit and/or sand. Cover with a light dressing of compost and gently water. Place the seed in a bright position at between 15°C to maximum 22°C. Do not keep them any warmer as this can inhibit germination. Only water again once the compost has dried out.

They will not require a period of dormancy over the summer for the first 2 years but keep the seedlings more on the dry side. In the third year keep the young plants dry from June to mid-August.

Give them a half-diluted liquid feed once the leaves emerge and with a bit of luck your Sea Daffodil should flower in their third or fourth year.

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