Daffodil (Narcissus) - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Narcissus is a genus of about 50 species of bulbous perennials which produce between one and 20 flowers on each stem. They have erect, strap-shaped, mid-green leaves, 6 to 30 inches long. The flowers are 1-1/2 to 3 inches across and trumpet shaped. Each flower has a perianth composed of 3 sepals and 3 petals, surrounding the cup or trumpet. The perianth is usually yellow or white; the cup or trumpet may be red, orange, or pink.

The names Narcissus, Daffodil, and Jonquil are often used interchangeably. Narcissus is the only correct scientific name for these plants and is often used as a common name as well. Daffodil also is used as a common name for the entire genus but most often refers to the large trumpet flower forms. Jonquil is another common name but is correctly applied only to the species Narcissus jonquilla and its close hybrids.

Plant the bulbs to a depth of 1-3 times their own height in autumn. Most will tolerate a range of soils but grow best in a moderately fertile, well-drained soil that is moist during the growing season. Most daffodils thrive in full sun or dappled part-day shade. When the flowers fade, remove the heads and stalks but allow the leaves to remain for at least 6 weeks. Lift and divide the clumps when flowering becomes sparse or the clumps congested.
Forcing for holiday blooms

For forcing indoors, plant bulbs in early autumn in soilless potting mix and refrigerate at about 40 degrees F (35-50 degrees F). Some references insist that the neck of the bulb should be above the soil line, others that the bulb should be planted near the bottom of the pot. We are testing the second method and should have results sometime after the first of the year.

After shoots appear, usually after 12 to 16 weeks, move the plants to a cool room and gradually increase the light level and temperature, to about 65 degrees F when flowering. After the blooms have faded , keep the soil moist and fertilize the plants at least once. You may cut off the flower stalk but allow the leaves to yellow and die naturally. Plant the bulbs in the garden for blooms next spring.

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