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Genus Narcissus (Daffodil)

Narcissus Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' Photo/Illustration: Brent and Becky's Bulbs
nar-SIS-us Common Name: Daffodil
These beloved bulbs mainly bloom in late winter and early spring, breaking the spell of winter with their large blossoms saturated in cheery tones. Narcissus naturally occur in meadows, woodlands, along watercourses, and in rocky outcroppings up to subalpine altitudes. The mainly yellow or white flowers are comprised of 6 petals surrounding a corona. Narcissus are classified into 13 Divisions according to different flower forms or by botanical name: 1 Trumpet; 2 Large-cupped; 3 Small-cupped; 4 Double; 5 Triandrus; 6 Cyclamineus; 7 Jonquilla; 8 Tazetta; 9 Poeticus; 10 Bulbocodium; 11 Split-corona; 12 and 13 Miscellaneous. The term "heirloom" refers loosely to bulbs existing before 1940. Narcissus make superb companions to herbaceous and woody plants, and their uses in the landscape are numerous: in formal spring displays, mixed herbaceous or shrub borders, deciduous woodland plantings, rock gardens, naturalized in large scale meadow plantings or lawns, and in containers or greenhouse displays. 
Noteworthy characteristics: Most are hardy to Zone 5, and a cold treatment is necessary to initiate bloom. They can be forced, and make excellent cut flowers, but their sap can cause other flowers in the same vase to wilt prematurely.
Care: Grow in average, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade (see individual species for specific requirements). In autumn, plant bulbs from 1.5 to 5 times the bulbs' height (3 inches or more in cold climates). Under glass, grow in 1 part grit and 2 parts soil mix. Deadhead seed heads (except those of species, for dispersal) and allow leaves to photosynthesize for 6 weeks before cutting back, including plantings in turf. Lift and divide clumps if they become overcrowded or perform poorly. Bulbs may be forced in autumn in a cold frame; plant with tops visible, keep moist, and when rooted, move to a cool greenhouse (less than 64°F).
Propagation: Separate bulbs and replant in early summer or early fall.
Problems: Narcissus bulb fly, narcissus nematode, bulb scale mite, slugs, narcissus basal rot, other fungal infections, narcissus yellow stripe virus, and other viruses.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Narcissus

Narcissus 'Avalanche' Narcissus 'Avalanche'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Tazetta-type daffodils, including the paperwhites that can be forced into bloom indoors during the winter, are also fragrant. ‘Avalanche’ has a cluster of 10 to 20 tiny flowers, creating almost an entire bouquet on one stem. Its flowers, with white petals and pale-yellow cups, have a wonderful musky-sweet fragrance. Since it is hardy to Zone 6, it can be enjoyed in many gardens. It shows off even more when combined with plants like Tulipa ‘Pink Impression’, Ornithogalum balansae, and pansies.

Narcissus 'Baby Moon’ Narcissus 'Baby Moon’
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Probably the most fragrant of all, especially considering the size of the flowers, is N. ‘Baby Moon’, a precious, golden-yellow miniature daffodil.

Narcissus 'Bethlehem' Narcissus 'Bethlehem'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 4 to 5 weeks after planting. It produces 10 to 15 creamy-white flowers with pale-yellow centers on compact stems 8 to 10 inches tall, and exudes a mild, sweet fragrance.

Narcissus 'Ceylon' Narcissus 'Ceylon'
(Large-Cupped Daffodil)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This daffodil has large, long-lasting flowers that are a deep, sunny yellow with orange cups. Plant these in large groups for a specular mid-season show. Great for forcing indoors.

Narcissus 'Chinese Sacred Lily' Narcissus 'Chinese Sacred Lily'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 5 weeks after planting.  Each 14- to 16-inch stem brings forth 5 to 10 white flowers with golden-yellow centers exuding a delicate fragrance. It may require staking.

Narcissus 'Cragford' Narcissus 'Cragford'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This hardy paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 8 to 10 weeks after planting.  It produces mildly musk-scented, white flowers with orange centers on stems 12 to 14 inches tall.

Narcissus 'Dickcissel' Narcissus 'Dickcissel'
(Jonquilla Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This miniature daffodil opens in very late spring. Its cup changes from yellow to white after the flowers open.

Narcissus 'Galilee' Narcissus 'Galilee'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 4 weeks after planting. It produces 10 to 15 white flowers per stem (12 to 14 inches tall) and exudes a musky fragrance.

Narcissus 'Grand Soleil d'Or' Narcissus 'Grand Soleil d'Or'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 6 to 10 weeks after planting.  It produces 10 to 20 bright-yellow flowers with orange centers on stems 12 to 14 inches tall, and exudes a marvelously sweet fragrance.

Narcissus 'Hawera' Narcissus 'Hawera'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Triandrus-type daffodils usually have one or two nodding flowers per stem and are noted for their wonderful, often fruity, fragrance. N. ‘Hawera’ (pre-1950, Zones 3–8) is a miniature triandrus-type daffodil with many elfin, pale-yellow nodding bells per stem, each with a demitasse-shaped cup surrounded by swept-back petals. This adaptable daffodil can grow in dry areas, in pots, in full sun, and in partial shade. It contrasts nicely with Muscari armeniacum and is exquisite with hellebores.

Narcissus 'Intrigue' Narcissus 'Intrigue'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The newly opened blossoms of N. ‘Intrigue’ (1970, Zones 3–9) are a soft chartreuse-yellow. As they mature, however, the flowers become a luminous white and attract a lot of attention, especially when planted with a blood-red tulip like ‘Hollandia’. When combined with another soft-colored flower, like Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Lady Derby’, it creates a peaceful scene. An American-bred jonquilla-type daffodil with several flowers per stem, ‘Intrigue’ also has a wonderful fragrance. 

no image available Narcissus 'Israel'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 5 weeks after planting. Each 16- to 20-inch stem brings forth 15 to 20 large, creamy-yellow flowers with pale-yellow centers. Its mild fragrance is sweet and musky.

Narcissus 'Jack Snipe' Narcissus 'Jack Snipe'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Generally speaking, daffodils perform best in full sun and well-drained soil, in areas where there is a fair amount of rainfall in the fall and spring and where the summer is relatively dry. However, cyclamineus-type daffodils seem to tolerate at least partial shade and more moisture than others do. Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’ (pre-1951, Zones 3–8) is a charming example of this type of daffodil. Its white petals are swept back, as if it were standing in front of a fan, and its medium-length, buttercup-yellow trumpet (or nose) sticks straight out at a 90 degree angle from the stem.  ‘Jack Snipe’ is an intermediate-size daffodil, standing only 8 to 10 inches tall, and is perfect for a rock garden or the front of a flower border. This whole division of daffodils is becoming more popular not only because it tolerates some shade but also because the shape of the flower is so handsome.

no image available Narcissus 'Jerusalem'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 to 4 weeks after planting. It produces very large, white flowers on stems 16 to 20 inches tall, and exudes a mildly sweet fragrance.

Narcissus 'Nazareth' Narcissus 'Nazareth'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender paperwhite is well-suited to forcing, blooming 3 weeks after planting. It produces creamy white flowers with yellow centers on compact stems 12 to 14 inches tall, and exudes a mildly sweet fragrance.

Narcissus 'Quail' Narcissus 'Quail'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Jonquilla-type daffodils produce dark-green, narrow, often reedlike leaves, which are relatively easy to hide in the border while they mature, and there is usually more than one sweetly fragrant flower per stem. Golden-yellow, sweetly fragrant, and a wonderful perennial, ‘Quail’ creates a special color echo with the golden center of the small tulip Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’.

Narcissus 'Tahiti' Narcissus 'Tahiti'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Although some people don’t consider double or peonylike daffodils classics, many double hybrids have been in existence for a long time. N. ‘Tahiti’ (1956, Zones 3–8) has a soft-yellow flower with bright reddish-orange interior ruffles is reminiscent of a blossom from the tropics. ‘Tahiti’ stands up straight under its own weight, even on windy days. Its coloration is eye-catching, so it makes a big impact in the garden.

Narcissus 'Accent' Narcissus 'Accent'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Narcissus ‘Accent’ has white petals and a funnel-shaped, salmon-pink cup whose color stays true.

Narcissus 'Rijnveld’s Early Sensation' Narcissus 'Rijnveld’s Early Sensation'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is a classic yellow trumpet-type daffodil and one of the earliest blooming. It can tolerate cold, snowy weather and it has a long blooming period. 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' combines nicely with early crocuses and dwarf irises.

Narcissus 'Serola' Narcissus 'Serola'
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Brightly colored, large-cupped, and reliable, Narcissus 'Serola' has vivid orange and yellow flowers that make it the perfect choice for roadside plantings, for gardens viewed from a distance, and for hot-colored garden schemes. It shows up even better with contrasting colors like the bright, beet-red Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Woodstock’, or as a color echo with Tulipa ‘American Dream’.

Narcissus bulbocodium var. conspicuus Narcissus bulbocodium var. conspicuus
(Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The species daffodil N. bulbocodium var. conspicuus (Zones 3–9) has been around so long that no one can actually put a date on it. Its look is unusual: It does have six golden petals, but they are tiny, twisted, and often difficult to see. Its prominent rounded cup gives rise to its nickname, hoop petticoats. It prefers acidic soil and when happy, will reseed, blooming like buttercups in groups. Only 4 to 6 inches tall, it naturalizes itself in many areas.

Narcissus jonquilla Narcissus jonquilla
(Wild jonquil, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This Division 10 Bulbocodium species blooms late in the season, bearing up to 5 fragrant and nodding golden-yellow flowers. It has cylindrical, dark-green stems to 12 inches. It is good for naturalizing, and prefers neutral to alkaline soil.

no image available Narcissus papyraceus
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This Tazetta/Division 10 daffodil is a species well-suited to forcing. It produces white clusters of up to 10 half-inch-wide blooms, which are strongly scented.

Narcissus papyraceus 'Ziva' Narcissus papyraceus 'Ziva'
(Paperwhite narcissus, Daffodil)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender Paperwhite is well-suited to forcing. It blooms in only two or three weeks from planting, bearing pure-white, musk-scented flowers atop 16 to 18 inch tall stems.