The genus Narcissus is a member of the named family Amaryllidaceae of mostly perennial bulbs, which include a wide range of flowers, some of which are honorably referred to as the ‘Daffodil’ or ‘Narcissus’. There are around 50 different species of Narcissus, mostly characterised by an unmistakable yellow trumpet-shaped bloom with a white or yellow perianth. The word ‘narcissus’ derives from the Greek mythology of ‘Narcissus and Echo’ where a vain youth by the name of Narcissus, fell in love with his own reflection in the water and was unable to tear himself away from it. The genus name of Narcissus has hence become symbolic of vanity and ego.
How To Plant
Daffodils are easy to plant and maintain and can be grown in either outdoor or indoor settings. To successfully grow them, they need full or partial sun, a well-drained mildly acidic soil, and a consistent water supply. The best temperature range for the bulbs is between 40 and 70 F (4 and 21 C). Excessively humid conditions should be avoided. Fertilizers need only be added during the growing stages and can be applied according to instructions found on the package.
Meaning and Symbolism
Daffodil and Narcissi are generally seen as symbols of honesty, faithfulness and renewal. They are seen as admired symbols of spring and mark the celebration of new beginnings. As they originate from the cold climates of Europe and Turkey, the tough, bright and delicate daffodil is often associated with the idea of resilience and hope.
History, Mythology, and Religious Significance
The history of Narcissus dates back to Ancient Greek literature, with the occurrence of various classical stories, such as the lovesick story of Narcissus and Echo, which is why it has become symbolic of vanity and ego. In Christianity, daffodils were seen as a symbol of resurrection as they were thought to bloom with the arrival of Easter. In Wales, daffodils often signify St. David’s Day, the national day of Wales, which is celebrated on the 1st of March. They remain the national flower of Wales and are mentioned often in Welsh poetry.
Flower Varieties and Their Defining Characteristics
Narcissi belong to the subgenus of the twelve divisions of the genus Narcissus. The divisions include: jonquilla, cyclamineus, jonquilla hybrid, martagon, poeticus, pseudonarcissus, tazetta, and triandrus, among others. The characteristics of each type vary, with some having multiple flower heads – such as jonquilla, while others having short single or twin flowers – such as tazetta. Each flower is usually cheerful in color, with yellow, white, orange or red petals and trumpet corollas, providing an array of choices for their lovers.
How to Pot and Repot
Potting Daffodils is relatively easy and can be done during their dormant blooming season. A potting mix containing organic matter like manure, perlite, and peat moss should create an ideal substrate for potting. The most important aspect of repotting is ensuring that the hole is made in the center of the pot to keep soil stabilised. When planting, make sure to place the bulbs gently and firmly in the center and fill up the remaining space with soil mixture. Make sure to water regularly and ensure enough drainage is provided. If conditions are favourable, new blooms should appear in the summer.
How to Prune
Pruning is essential in keeping Daffodils healthy and promoting the growth of new blooms. The first pruning should be done after the flowers have bloomed for the current season and should be done by cutting off the wilted flower and stem. Pruning should also be done after the foliage has become yellow and begins to wilt. Use a pair of scissors to cut off the entire stem at the base of the plant. Pruning is preventative care for the Daffodils and should be done on a yearly basis.
How to Propagate
Propagating Daffodil trough division is the most popular method used. This involves carefully digging up the bulbs and separated them so that each section has a piece of the bulb and several roots. This can be done during the dormant season and re-potted in individual pots to start the next growing season. Propagation by seed is also an option but is not as common as it takes a long time to germinate the seeds. To grow from seed, plant the seeds 2 cm deep in a prepared seed or in a planter filled with moist peat moss.
Common Pests and Diseases
Narcissi are vulnerable to a number of pests, including aphids, thrip, scales and mites. Diseases like Botrytis, Fusarium, and Verticillium Wilt can also affect Daffodils. To prevent damage from pests and diseases, make sure that the area the bulbs are planted in is kept clean and free from weeds. Good air circulation and proper watering are also essential for preventative care. If any signs of pest or disease are observed on the plants, treat them with a suitable pesticide or fungicide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are daffodils perennial?
A: Most daffodils are perennials and will flower year after year. However, some types are classified as biennials, meaning they need two years to flower.
Q: Are daffodil bulbs poisonous?
A: The bulbs degrade slowly and produce toxins when ingested, which can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Therefore, they are classified as mildly poisonous.
Q: Should daffodils be planted in full sun?
A: Daffodils can tolerate some shade, but they react best to plenty of sun. So, it is advisable to plant them in an area that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
|6 to 24 inches
|Full or partial sun
|Well-drained, slightly acidic
|5.5 to 6.5
|Late winter to mid spring
|Yellow, white, orange or red
|3 to 8
|Europe and Turkey