More Than Yellow Daffodils
Narcissus, they are the beautiful harbingers of spring and the squirrels won’t eat them.
Those bushy tailed tree rats will sometimes dig them up and move them but the vast majority stay where you planted them and will bloom and expand there for many years. They are great naturalizers and will develop into large clumps if left undisturbed. A little fertilizer or compost and letting the leaves die down naturally is all that is required. A word of caution here; their leaves take some considerable time to die down in the spring. The longer that you can leave them, the stronger the bulbs will become. Interplant them with other things that will grow up and hide the dying leaves.
When is a Daffodil a Narcissus?
These two names always seem to cause some confusion. Narcissus is the botanical name for that whole group of flowers. Daffodil is a common name that is usually applied to the bright yellow large flowered type that we are most familiar with. That common name seems to be coming more common and is now often applied to any of the large flowered varieties. Narcissus is always correct and using it will make you sound a little more knowledgeable. Use Daffodil wherever you want because it has no defined botanical definition. There now; you should be even more confused than you were.
When and How Do I Plant Them? In the autumn as soon as the soil starts to cool down. The big secret is to plant them quite deep. The package instructions will say 8" deep. Try to get as close to that as possible. They will last longer, multiply faster and you can easily plant annuals over them without disturbing them. You can plant a clump by digging a large hole with a shovel and then placing 5 -7 bulbs in that hole. Alternately you can spread them evenly over a larger area and then dig individual holes for each bulb. This takes a little longer but gives you a much better show and allows other perennials to grow up between them and hide their dying foliage.
How Many Different Narcissus Are There? Hundreds of varieties are available. You really need to know a few things. There are large single flowered and double flowered types. There are smaller flowered multi bloom types and they can be single or double flowered as well. There are dwarf varieties they stay under 8". The flower has two distinct parts. The perianth or flat circle of petals and the corona or trumpet that sticks out from the centre of the perianth. Narcissus fanciers and catalogues will separate the various types based on the relative size and shape of the corona. Just look at the picture on the package and choose ones that you like.
Are They All Yellow? No! There are many variations and combinations of white and yellow. The corona wanders into some other shades, including oranges and pinks. Again just choose ones that appeal to you.
When Do They Bloom? They all bloom in the spring but there is a wide range of bloom times. Some are among the earliest of the bulbs to bloom and some will not show up until much later in the spring. They tend to stay in flower for a reasonable length of time and the cooler the weather the longer the blooms will last. Read the packages and do a little planning, some early, some later varieties, so that your Daffodil season lasts for several weeks each spring.
return from Narcissus to Bulbs main page