NARCISSUS – daffodil

The yellow, trumpet-like flowers of narcissus mark the beginning of spring. Grown from bulbs planted in autumn, they are useful in mixed borders or in special cutting beds for use as cut flowers.

Suitable site and soil. Plant bulbs in sun or shade in autumn into well-drained ordinary garden soil or pots for forcing.

Cultivation and care. Plant bulbs deep in autumn. Deadhead flowers and leave foliage to die down naturally.

Propagation. In autumn lift and divide large clumps, replanting directly. Young bulbs flowers in two years.

Recommended varieties. Daffodils come in various heights from miniatures or dwarfs which are just 8-15cm – 4-6in tall to some of the tallest trumpet daffodils which can reach 50cm – 20in. They may have double flowers, split-flower cups, large or small cups, or trumpet-shaped flowers. N. ‘Arctic Gold’ is a rich, yellow trumpet variety growing to 40cm – 16in. Among the yellow and white narcissi, try the dwarf ‘Little Beauty’ or the taller, large-cupped ‘Flower Record’. For a soft pink large cup, try ‘Passionale’. Best doubles include ‘Golden Ducat’, ‘Cheerfulness’ and ‘Tahiti’. Poeticus narcissi, such as ‘Actaea’, have small frilly central cups with red edges. Of the tazzeta narcissi, with up to 12 fragrant flowers per stem, try ‘Soleil d’Or’. Jonquils also have several fragrant flowers on each stem; ‘Suzy’ has gold petals with an orange cup.

Pests and diseases. Eelworm and slugs damage bulbs. Affected by several virus and narcissus fire.

THE NATURAL LOOK

Throw the bulbs gently onto the grass in the planting area so they have a random look. Make planting holes or lift a few turfs. Add fertilizer and cover with soil. Replace grass.

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