I don’t often repost blogs that were posted elsewhere, but I just saw this one, written by Kathleen LaLiberte of Longfield Gardens and recently published on the National Garden Bureau website and it was fun, simple and attractive, so why not share it? Also, I’m a big fan of narcissus (daffodils or jonquils if you prefer). Besides, with over 500 cultivars of narcissus currently available, who doesn’t want to know, which ones a plant expert considers to be the best!
Here you go!
The National Garden Bureau’s 10 Favorite Narcissus
Yellow trumpet daffodils are far and away the world’s most popular style of daffodils. But why stop there when the daffodil world has so much more to offer? According to the American Daffodil Society, there are 13 official daffodil flower types and more than 25,000 named cultivars!
So how do you decide which varieties to plant in your garden? Start with these 10 timeless favorites. All have proven to be vigorous, sturdy and reliably perennial. They include many different flower styles and bloom times, so you will get a full month of spring color every year.
#1 – ‘Dutch Master’ or ‘Yellow River’
The iconic daffodil is big and yellow with a very large cup. For years, the go-to variety was King Alfred, but it’s no longer in cultivation. Instead, look for ‘Dutch Master’ or ‘Yellow River’. Both have large, egg-yolk-yellow flowers with oversize trumpets. These classic yellow daffodils are great for massing and naturalizing. They bloom early and have a bold presence in the landscape.
#2 – ‘Barrett Browning’
This daffodil makes a perfect partner for ‘Dutch Master’ or ‘Unsurpassable’. The large flowers have pure white petals surrounding a widely flared and ruffled yellow cup. A yellow halo at the base of the trumpet gives the blossoms an even sunnier look. Long-lasting and simply beautiful.
#4 – ‘Orange Progress’
#5 – ‘Pink Pride’
Possibly the best pink daffodil around. The oversize flowers and have broad, thick, snow-white petals. Prominent, ruffled cups open apricot and age to coral pink with a touch of orange (no narcissus has truly pink cups). ‘Pink Pride’s blossoms face outward and slightly upward, which makes them extra showy in the garden and great for cut flower arrangements.
#6 – ‘Tahiti’
One of the all-time greats of the daffodil world. ‘Tahiti’ is a multiple award winner and has been consistently popular since it was first introduced back in 1956. Layers of rounded, golden yellow petals are interspersed with frilly, red-orange accents. ‘Tahiti’ is a mid to late season daffodil that is long-lasting in the garden and is an excellent cut flower.
Height: 18 inches (45 cm)
#7 – ‘Cheerfulness’
There are so many reasons to love this daffodil…starting with the name ‘Cheerfulness’! The double flowers are creamy white with yellow highlights and are borne in clusters of 3 to 4 blossoms per stem. ‘Cheerfulness’ has long slender stems and narrow foliage. It looks fabulous in a vase and has a wonderful, gardenia-like fragrance. Blooms in late spring.
Height: 16 inches (40 cm)
#8 – ‘Golden Echo’
#9 – ‘Jetfire’
#10 – ‘Tête-à-Tête’
This adorable miniature daffodil is among the longest-blooming, most versatile varieties you can grow. ‘Tête-à-Tête’ blooms early and keeps on going for weeks. Great in flower beds, landscaping and in containers. The grassy foliage doesn’t compete with the flowers and it fades away relatively quickly. Available since 1949 and still in the top 10.
Height: 7 inches (18 cm)
Hardiness zone: 3 to 8
Plant narcissus bulbs in the fall, between September and November, in a location that receives lots of sunshine in the spring. They can be planted at the base of deciduous trees and shrubs in spots that will be shady in summer as long as their foliage has time to receive its annual dose of sunlight before it fades away.
The bulbs prefer deep, loose and moderately rich soil that is relatively moist in the spring. Avoid places where the soil is always damp, though, like irrigated gardens: the bulbs do like to dry out during the summer.
Plant the bulbs, with the tip pointing upwards, at a depth equal to three times their height, spacing them at three times their diameter. Adding a good slow-release fertilizer and mychorrhizal fungi to the soil under the bulbs is often helpful. Cover with soil and water well. It’s always wise to mulch well for at least the first winter.
No attention is needed when the bulbs are in bloom in spring. Afterwards, let the foliage yellow naturally before removing it.
After several years, the bulbs may become too crowded and flowering decreases. If so, dig up and divide the bulbs when their foliage turns yellow. No need to wait until the fall to plant them, however: put them in the ground as soon as you’ve harvested them.
And there you go: the very best narcissus and how to grow them in a nutshell! Best of luck with your narcissus planting this fall!