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NARCISSUS

Image of Narcissus

James H. Schutte

Family

Amaryllidaceae

Botanical Name

NARCISSUS

Plant Common Name

Daffodil, Jonquil

General Description

Nothing brings on spring like the bright, sunny colors of daffodils. These hardy, spring-blooming bulbs may flower in early, mid or late spring, depending on the cultivar, and are distinguished by six showy petal-like tepals that surround a protruding, tubular floral structure called a corona. Daffodil flowers are most commonly found in shades of cream, yellow, orange, or orange-red and have long, green strap-like leaves.

These long-lived bulbs are clump-forming and good for naturalizing. Unlike tulips, they are poisonous, so their bulbs are not eaten by small mammals and their green tops are not browsed by deer.

Daffodils are some of the easiest bulbs to grow. They prefer full to part sun and require average to fertile soil. After blooming, it is good to let their green tops photosynthesize to allow them to store plenty of fuel for next spring’s display. Once their leaves start to turn yellow, they can be cut to the ground. Hardiness is cultivar/species dependent, but all Narcissus require a chilling period to bloom.

There are thousands of daffodil species and cultivars and approximately 60 species. These fall under 13 separate classes that distinguish plants by floral form and parentage. These classes are:

(1) Trumpet daffodils: Stems bear only one flower; the corona is cup-like or trumpet-like and the same as the length of the petals/tepals, or longer.

(2) Large-cupped daffodils: Stems bear only one flower; corona length is one third the height of the petals/tepals.

(3) Small-cupped daffodils: Stems bear only one flower; corona length is less than one third the height of the petals/tepals.

(4) Double daffodils: One or more flowers per stem; corona and tepals/petals are doubled.

(5) Triandrus daffodils: generally more than one flower per stem; flower heads often droop and tepals/petals are often lightly reflexed or bent backwards.

(6) Cyclamineus daffodils: Stems bear only one flower; coronas are straight and tubular and petals/tepals are highly reflexed, or bend backward.

(7) Jonquilla and Apodanthus daffodils: There is generally more than one flower per stem; blooms are sweetly fragrant, and foliage is often thin, stiff and linear.

(8) Tazetta daffodils: Multiple flowers per stem; corona is very short, petals/tepals have a rounded or crinkled appearance and blooms are fragrant.

(9) Poeticus daffodils: Stems commonly bear only one flower; corona is often small, flattened and edged in red-orange and petals/tepals are often white or ivory. Blooms are fragrant.

(10) Bulbocodium daffodils: Stems commonly bear only one flower; coronas are large and balloon out like a hoop skirt, petals/tepals are significantly smaller than the corona.

(11a) Split-corona daffodils (Collar daffodils): the corona is split and is parted in two rows of three.

(11b) Split-corona daffodils (Papillon daffodils): the corona is split and is parted in a single whorl of six.

(12) Other daffodils: Daffodils that fall outside all other categories.

(13) Species daffodils: All putative wild forms.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-24" / 15.2cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    6"-24" / 15.2cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Black Walnut Toxicity

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Orange, Light Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Green, Gold, Salmon, Peach, Orange Red, Ivory

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Double

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes