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blooming plant of the month                                                       (printable PDF)

Hyacinth - Blooming PlantBOTANICAL NAME
Narcissus spp.  (nar-SIS-us)

Daffodil, Jonquil, Polyanthus Narcissus
(Note: “Daffodil” is the correct common name for all species in the Narcissus genus; “jonquil” refers to one particular species, N. jonquilla; and “polyanthus Narcissus” is the common name of the miniature multiflowered species, N. tazetta, which includes the ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ and ‘Paper-white’ varieties.)

Narcissus blooms, which are atop hollow, slender, leafless stems and face perpendicular to the stems when open (the gooseneck stage), have petals fused to the base of a trumpet-shaped cup (corona). Blooms can be single (with six petals) or double (12 or more petals), and they can occur individually (the larger-flowered species) or in clusters (the miniature-flowered species). Cups can range from small to large and from shallow to deep.

Although the slender stems, which typically range from 12 to 24 inches in length, depending on variety, are leafless, these plants do have basal straplike foliage, which grows from the tops of the bulbs alongside the stems.

Narcissi are available with yellow, orange, peach, pink, white, cream or greenish petals, with yellow, orange, peach, salmon, pink, white, cream or bicolor cups.

Potted Narcissi can last from five to 14 days, depending on variety, maturity of blooms at the time of purchase, care received and environmental conditions (see “In-Store and Consumer Care”).

Depending on species, Narcissus plants are generally available from November through April.

in-store and consumer care


Potted Narcissi prefer bright filtered or indirect sunlight (no direct sun). (See “Challenges” for more information.)

These bulbs require moderately moist soil at all times, but avoid letting pots stand in water.

Cool indoor environments are required—ideally, 60 F to 65 F during the day, 50 F to 55 F at night. In store, these plants can be displayed or stored in a floral cooler at 33 F to 41 F for up to three days; extended cold storage, however, can cause leaf yellowing and reduce longevity.

Narcissi are moderately sensitive to ethylene, so ensure that your plants are treated with an antiethylene agent at the grower or during shipping.

Potted Narcissi don’t require fertilizer because, essentially, all of the food they need is stored in the bulbs.

In addition to pots with soil, these bulbs can be grown indoors in containers with only gravel and water (see feature on pages 27-28 in the February 2011 issue).

bulbs will not rebloom indoors, so after they have finished blooming, advise consumers to remove the bulbs from the pot; allow them to dry; remove the dead foliage; store the bulbs in a cool, dry place; and plant them outdoors in the fall. ‘Paper-white’ bulbs are best discarded after blooming.



Occurrences are rare, but spider mites and aphids can infest these plants.

This problem is usually the result of inconsistent and/or insufficient watering and low humidity.

Causes include insufficient light and/or high temperatures.

Hot or cold drafts, incorrect watering (too much or too little) and/or insufficient light are the usual reasons.

Storage at too high temperatures and/or small, poor-quality bulbs are common causes.

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  toxicity alert  
  • All Narcissus species contain crystalline alkaloids, especially in the bulbs but also in the leaves, that are toxic to both humans and animals, causing digestive, nervous system and even cardiac disorders.

  • Some species also can cause mild to severe contact dermatitis in some people.

  fun facts  

WHAT’S IN A NAME Flower lore says this flower was named for Narcissus, a beautiful Greek youth who became so entranced by his reflection in a pool of water that he was unable to leave and wasted away to death.

FAMILY MATTERS Narcissus is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. Close relatives include amaryllis, Clivia, Nerine and Eucharis.

HOME SWEET HOME Narcissi are native to Europe and North Africa.

  purchasing advice  
  Potted Narcissi, like many bulb plants, are relatively short lived, so purchase them when the buds are still green or showing just a tinge of color and are in the “pencil” stage (unopened and pointing upward)  

Some information provided by:

Chain of Life Network® ,
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara Pleasant
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
SAF Flower & Plant Care, by Terrill A. Nell, Ph.D., and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
Spring-Flowering Bulbs, by Dr. A.A. De Hertogh

Photos: Flower Council of Holland

Super Floral Retailing •• Copyright 2011
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.