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Portland Nursery

NARCISSUS: Daffodil

Ah, these heralds of spring! In pots, borders, rock gardens, beds, window boxes, lawns- is there anywhere these beauties don't look good? And these don't come in just classic medium sized yellow anymore- pink, peach, white, red, big beautiful singles, ruffled doubles, and groups of little tête-à-têtes. There are well over 1000 varieties of Narcissus commercially available and many ways to use them in your garden.

Narcissus

Daffodils are perennial spring bloomers, meaning that in bulb form they are planted in the fall. They are available in the spring as growing potted bulbs ready to set into a decorative container or into a garden bed for springtime enjoyment.

After the foliage yellows they can then be transplanted directly into the garden and will continue to bloom year after year. As with many bulbs, daffodils are very suitable for growing in pots or window boxes or for filling in among plants in the garden bed. They are wonderful additions to borders and lawns (use a bulb planter if you want to create a stunning springtime display and still keep your grass nice).

When using bulbs, planting in masses gives the best impact. In garden beds, groups of three planted in loose triangle shapes looks best. For lawns or in a large space under trees, a more natural look can be done by “sowing” the bulbs onto the ground and planting them where they land.

Narcissus should be planted twice as deep as the height of the bulb. Shallow planting makes the bulbs reproduce faster but smaller, while deeper planting creates larger bulbs more slowly. Incorporate fertilizer at planting time or feed with a slow-release product in fall. Cut off the heads if you wish, leaving the foliage (do not tie up or knot) until it yellows or dies back naturally will provide the bulb with the greatest amount of nutrients.

When division is needed (mark your daffodils location in the spring so that in summer you can find them) to lift the clump and divide, replanting bulbs on the same day. If you choose to have them indoors as a cut flower, it is best to enjoy them on their own as Narcissus species contain calcium oxalate crystals that often cause other flowers in the vase to wilt.

Here are some of our favorite varieties that are available during spring. Please call for specific availability.

  • Dutch Master - Large, single bloom, yellow
  • February Gold- Medium-large, single, vibrant yellow
  • Jack Snipe- Medium-large, single, yellow and white
  • Jet Fire- Medium-large, single, orange and yellow
  • Quail- Small,multi-head, fragrant, gold yellow
  • Rip Van Winkle- Small, double golden yellow, fringed petals
  • Tête a Tête- Small, yellow blooms, multi stemmed and headed
  • Thalia- Drooping 2 or more per stem, white-cream.
narcissus

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FACTS: DAFFODILS

Genus: Narcissus

Common Name(s): Daffodil, Jonquil

Origin: 50 species from Southern Europe and Morocco, with a few originating in western Asia, Japan, and China. They have now been placed in 12 groups based on appearance

Culture: Blooms February - May in full sun to part shade. Narcissus prefer a fertile, well-drained, moist site. They are very easy care and though they will often tolerate a wide array of soils and conditions, good drainage is essential.

Pests and Diseases: Once planted they are nearly pest and disease free. Bulb flies can occasionally be troublesome and slug baiting is recommended (a multi-use product that will also protect from cut worms is available as well). Although rot in the garden can be avoided by planting with good drainage, it is often an issue during storage. So the moral is - once bought, plant promptly to avoid rot.

Maintenance: Fertilize when planting or in early spring with a slow release bulb food or bone meal. Keep moist during any spring dry spells. Let foliage yellow before cutting back. Lifting the bulbs is not necessary in our climate.

Propagation: Spreads into clumps. Divide bulbs when flowering decreases (for many Narcissus this may be a few years) and replant immediately at least 6 inches apart from other clumps. This is best done in July or August.