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Narcissus

According to classical mythology, a young lad Narcissus, was so enamored with himself that he stared at his reflection in a pool of water until he eventually turned into his namesake flower. And this is how Narcissus flowers came into being!

Narcissus is one of the most popular flowers in the world and the most popular flower in Germany.

Narcissus JonquilaA spring-flowering bulb, Narcissus is the name of a genus which includes flower bulbs like Daffodils, Jonquils, Paper whites and so forth. Narcissi (plural form of Narcissus) are easily grown from bulbs. The word Narcissus is derived from the Greek word narke, meaning numbness or stupor. Some attribute the naming of the flower to its narcotic fragrance while others debate that it is associated with the poisonous nature of the Narcissus bulbs.

Kingdom
Plantae
Division
Magnoliophyta
Class
Liliopsida
Order
Asparagales
Family
Amaryllidaceae
Genus
Narcissus

Narcissus flowers are usually white or yellow and are characterized by a narrow, tubular base (hypanthium), three petals and three petal-like sepals (the perianth), and a central cup-like appendage (the corona, cup, or crown) that may be of contrasting color.

Facts About Narcissus

  • Narcissus is mostly native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found through central Asia to China.
  • Without exception, the most common Narcissus species found growing throughout America today were brought over from Europe by the early colonists and distributed westward by settlers from the East.
  • Narcissus is mainly cultivated in the Channel Isles, the Isles of Sicily, Great Britain and Holland.
  • Narcissus flowers are available from November to April depending on the species. The typical Daffodil blooms in the early spring.

Narcissus Varieties

The genus Narcissus encompasses dozens of species, hybrids, varieties and forms. Jonquils, Daffodils, Paper whites are the most popular varieties of Narcissus-

  • Jonquils - They have dark green, round, rush-like leaves and clusters of small, fragrant, early, yellow blossoms.
  • Daffodils - Without a doubt, modern large flowered daffodils are the most popular type of Narcissus planted today.
  • Paper whites - They are the early blooming Narcissus variety with white, powerfully fragrant, clustered flowers.

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Common Name Scientific Name Description
Cyclamineus Daffodil Narcissus cyclamineus Cyclamineus Daffodils have nodding blooms with strongly reflexed perianths and long cups. Flowers come in a wide variety of shades like red, orange, yellow, green, white, and pink.
Double-Flowered Daffodil Narcissus sp. double flowered cultivars Double-Flowered Daffodil blooms have double numbers of perianths or corona segments, or double numbers of both. Flowers come in a wide variety of shades like red, orange, yellow, green, white, and pink.
Jonquil Narcissus jonquilla The most fragrant Narcissus, Jonquils have small flowers made up of a small center cup (corona) surrounded by petals (perianth).
Poet's Narcissus, Poet's Flower, Pheasant's Eye Narcissus Narcissus poeticus In mid to late spring, each stem of the poet's Narcissus bears one fragrant flower featuring a small yellow central cup (corona) with a red edge surrounded by white petals (perianth).
Tazetta Narcissus Narcissus tazetta Tazetta Narcissus plants bear many flowers per stem; nearly two dozen small flowers or up to four larger flowers. The flowers have open perianths and small cups.
Trumpet-Flowered Daffodil Narcissus sp. trumpet flowered cultivars Trumpet-Flowered Daffodils have blooms with flattened outer petals and trumpet shaped cups that flare from their base to a wide, open rim. Flowers come in a wide variety of shades like red, orange, yellow, green, white, and pink.
Hoop-petticoat Daffodil Narcissus bulbocodium Hoop-petticoat Daffodils are deer-resistant, small (6 inches or less), and bear bright yellow blooms with large cups and tiny, pointed perianths.
Triandrus Daffodil Narcissus triandrus Triandrus Daffodils usually have more than one flower per stem. Often the petals are reflexed, which means that they sweep backwards as opposed to the faintly forward curve of the perianth in most daffodil classifications.
Paper white Narcissus Narcissus tazetta papyraceous Paper white Narcissus is one of the easiest bulbs to force for cut flowers or ornamental displays in the home from December to March.
Campernelle jonquil Narcissus odorus A natural hybrid between the wild jonquil and the wild daffodil. It has two to three large, fragrant, yellow Jonquil flowers.
Texas Star jonquil Narcissus intermedius It is a natural hybrid between the wild jonquil and the wild narcissus. It has short, pale yellow flowers .
Narcissus is a good flower for Geminians, who appreciate the Daffodil's yellow cheerfulness; and Pisceans who appreciate the scented delicacy of the white Narcissus.

Growing Narcissus

Bulbs are the main source of propagation for growing all the species of Narcissus.

  • Narcissus bulbs are very easy to grow. Narcissus requires little maintenance. Still, if you could take some minimum care, Narcissus can be more vigorous and floriferous, and they'll multiply much more quickly, improving the show they provide each year.
  • Soil & Site Selection - Narcissus grows almost anywhere, although it does prefer well-drained soils with a sunny or light shade environment. The Narcissus species types are more specific in their requirements.
  • Planting Bulbs - Narcissus should be planted from August to November, the earlier the better, at a depth three times the height of the bulb in beds, borders and large containers. In lawns, Narcissus is best planted slightly deeper, at a depth of 15cm.
  • Planting Associations - Narcissus looks good planted in borders or in naturalized drifts at the base of deciduous trees. Narcissus looks its best when planted in drifts of eight or more bulbs which then appears more natural.
  • Deadheading - When Narcissus flower-heads have faded, it is best to remove them. Otherwise the plant will divert energy from building up the bulb, which is necessary for next year's display, and put it into seed production.
  • Post-Flowering Care - After the Narcissus blooms have faded, the remaining leaves can look unsightly as they yellow. It is important to resist the temptation of removing this foliage early. It contains valuable nutrients that will be used for next year's crop of flowers. Leave the leaves for at least six weeks after flowering - longer if possible - before removing them.
  • Propagation - Divide overcrowded Narcissus clumps in late summer, and plant offsets elsewhere in the garden. The Narcissus species types can be propagated with fresh seed collected during summer and sown in late summer or autumn in pots outdoors.

Narcissus Plant Care

  • Like most perennials, Narcissus does well with about 1 inch of water per week while it's actively growing and blooming - from March to May
  • Mulch can be tremendously helpful in conserving moisture in Narcissus plants.
  • The best thing you can do for your Narcissus bulbs is to provide them rich, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter in it.
  • Most organic bulb fertilizers can be placed right into the planting hole because they're very gentle and non-burning.
  • Since Narcissus is a perennial, every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.
  • Once flowers are produced, it is best to keep plants away from direct sunlight and in a cool area. This will prolong the flowering period in a Narcissus.

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