Blooming Plant of
Narcissus tazetta (nar-SIS-us ta-ZEET-ta)
Paperwhite Narcissi are bulb plants with multiflowered clusters
of small white blossoms with small cups, or crowns.
Potted Narcissi can be stored in floral coolers at 32 F to 33 F
for 10 days or 36 F to 38 F for eight days. For optimum results,
store these plants at 41 F for no more than three days. The
plants will last for two to three weeks, depending on interior
Narcissi can be forced indoors for bloom as early as late
November. Potted Narcissi are generally available from November
to April with peak supplies in January through March.
In-store and consumer care
Narcissi prefer bright light, or the stems will become weak,
yellowed and elongated. Keep interior light levels at 50 to 100
foot-candles or higher. The plants can be kept in or near
windows where the light is indirect.
Check the pots frequently, and keep the soil moist at all
Provide a cool location away from direct sunshine or heat
sources. Cooler temperatures of 50 F to 65 F days and 45 F to 55
F nights are best for maximum longevity.
Medium humidity is best.
None is needed because all of the food that Narcissi need is
stored in the bulb.
Potted bulbs usually are too spent to save and rebloom, but
it is worth a try.
The most common disease affecting potted bulbs is Botrytis,
which can be avoided with proper watering. Avoid standing water.
Narcissus stems and foliage often become floppy as they
mature. Use plant stakes and string to support the plants and
keep them upright.
Narcissi are usually very fragrant. If present in quantity
in a closed room, headaches and even nausea may occur.
Narcissus is a Greek name said to be derived from “narke”
for “numbness” or “torpor,” in reference to narcotic properties.
The name also may be in reference to the Greek youth whose
admiration for his own beauty caused the gods to turn him into a
flower nodding at water’s edge to forever see only his own
Narcissi belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. Relatives
include Agapanthus, Alstroemeria, Clivia and Nerine.
Narcissi originated in Spain and Portugal. They became
commercially important in the late 1800s, but they have been
cultivated for centuries.
Choose and sell Narcissi when the buds are still green or
just beginning to show a tinge of color. The tighter the flower
buds, the longer the plants will last. Check the blossoms for
any signs of rot, bruising or wilt.
Check the foliage for any signs of rot, bruising or
Aphids can be controlled by washing them off the plants.
Some information provided by:
Carol and Don Garibaldi, Ańo Nuevo Flower Growers Inc., Half
Moon Bay, Calif.
San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart,
Chain of Life Network®,
SAF’s Flower & Plant Care manual
You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of John Henry
Company, Lansing, Mich.
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