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Narcissi, or daffodils, are magnificent bulbous perennials with yellow or white spring flowers. The bright colors are excellent for illuminating the garden in the gloomy days of winter and welcoming the return of spring! We often think about wild daffodils or the poet’s narcissus, but there are hundreds of varieties and species.
The height varies greatly: mini daffodils are only 15 centimeters high, and large daffodils can reach up to 40 to 50 cm in length. The flowers are sometimes natural, fitting comfortably into an undergrowth garden or a lawn. Narcissus are superb early flowers to add to bouquets. Many types seduce us with a pleasant fragrance.
The narcissus is a puncture-proof bulb capable of growing almost anywhere! It settles well in shady and humid places and supports even heavy, clayey soils. You can plant it in the fall. Once well established, it naturalizes effortlessly. The flower requires almost no care.
Today, in this article, we are going to discover the beautiful December birth flower, the daffodil. You can learn:
* Main characteristics
* Where to plant the daffodils?
* When and how to plant daffodils?
* Care and maintenance
Narcissus are bulbous perennial plants native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Some species also grow in Asia. In France, you can find the Narcissus poeticus, Narcissus bulbocodium, or the wood daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). The latter grows in meadows and forests, where it sometimes forms relatively dense stands. The flower thrives in Alsace and the Vosges.
Narcissus belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, which includes more than 2,000 species of plants, mostly bulbous. There are many plants frequently grown in gardens, such as amaryllis, alliums, snowdrops, or agapanthes. There are nearly 100 species of narcissus.
Daffodils are solitary, yellow-flowered with a long central crown (trumpet). They are hardy plants. They need to go through a cold period before they can flower in the spring.
Narcissus form an upright clump, from which emerge hollow flower stems and thin, erect leaves.
The flowers are composed of six tepals (three sepals and three petals, which have the same appearance), and bear a crown in the center in the form of a more or less flared tube. The head is sometimes short, but often well developed and quite long. Besides, it is usually more vividly colored than the petals. The flowers are marked in pink or red. There is even a narcissus with green flowers, the Narcissus viridiflorus!
The flowers are often single-flowered, which gives them a natural look, but there are double-flowered varieties and even varieties with modern-looking ‘orchid flowers.’
Narcissus sometimes offer very fragrant flowers, too. This is the case of the Poets’ Narcissus, the Tazetta Narcissus, and certain varieties such as Narcissus ‘Fragrant Rose’ or Narcissus ‘Geranium.’
Narcissus leaves are linear, elongated, and thin. They are often bluish-green, glaucous, and can also be bright green. They measure up to 70 centimeters in length.
Where to plant the daffodils ?
Place your daffodils in the sun or semi-shade. Too much shade can limit flowering, but they can enjoy growing under deciduous trees or shrubs. Narcissus proliferates just about anywhere, and even tolerate heavy or clayey soils! However, some species, such as Narcissus tazetta and Narcissus triandrus prefer drained soils. The smaller varieties can adapt to rockery planting.
We advise you to gather them to create small clumps rather than isolating them. You can also plant them randomly, for example, by throwing and planting them where they fall. Don’t hesitate to plant them en masse in a lawn. The effect in spring can be spectacular with a multitude of yellow or white flowers! Once well established, daffodils can naturalize and come back year after year, without requiring any maintenance.
You can also plant narcissi in pots or planters, possibly in combination with other bulbs, such as hyacinths, Muscari, or tulips.
When and How to Plant Daffodils
Plant them in the autumn, ideally from September to early November. Early planting can allow the bulb to flower early in the spring. However, it is still possible to plant them until December.
We advise you to keep a distance of about 10 centimeters between each bulb to give them a space to develop well. Dig a hole about three times the height of the bulb (usually 10 to 15 centimeters deep). You can use a bulb planter. Place the lamp with the tip facing up. Cover with soil. Then pack gently and slightly and water.
Care and Maintenance
Narcissus requires almost no maintenance! Unlike other bulbs, they are spared by rodents because they are toxic. The plant replenishes its reserves: mowing the lawn while the leaves are still green could jeopardize next year’s flowering.
After flowering, you should remove wilted flowers for aesthetic reasons and avoid exhausting the plant unnecessarily. You can also apply a fertilizer rich in potash and low in nitrogen.
There is no need to water narcissi in summer. On the contrary, they need to stay dry as long as they are dormant. On the other hand, during spring, late varieties can appreciate being watered if the weather is dry.
You can divide the daffodils every three or four years to aerate and strengthen the clumps. It can encourage flowering and prevent your bulbs from running out. We advise you to do it early in summer when the plant has gone into dormancy.
Narcissus creates a superb effect when planted en masse in a lawn! The lawn can be covered with white or yellow flowers in the spring. You can let them naturalize. Whether in a garden, in a border, or a pot, we advise you to combine daffodils with other spring bulbs including tulips, muscaris, hyacinths, and fritillaries. In a bed, you can add a few perennials, such as the elegant Hearts of Mary. The small varieties of narcissus, and in particular the Narcissus tazetta, are adapted to a rockery plantation. They can then accompany houseleeks, sedums, carnations, or grasses.
Narcissus offers a bright, yellow, or white, sometimes very fragrant blossom! They require little maintenance, grow by themselves, and come back every year more beautifully. Moreover, they can even be naturalized. They bloom early in spring, sometimes as soon as the end of winter! There are hundreds of varieties: small or taller, with single or double flowers. Daffodils offer beautiful diversity! Very easy to grow; they are very hardy and do not suffer from any disease.