A large genus of plants, which includes Daffodils, Jonquils, the popular “Pheasant Eye” Narcissus, and miniature species such as the Hoop Petticoat Daffodil, which are suitable for cultivation on rockeries. The amateur sometimes calls only the Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus by this name, but actually the genus Narcissus includes all the groups mentioned. Daffodil is the common name, mostly used for the trumpet varieties of the Narcissus, but sometimes also for the short cup, all-yellow, varieties. Polyanthus varieties, that is, varieties which have more than one flower on a stem, are commonly called Jonquils. Classification
Narcissus are usually classified as follows:
(1) Yellow, White or Bicolour Trumpets
(2) These have trumpets as long as, or longer than, the perianth segment.
(3) Yellow and Bicolour Short Cup or Incomparabilis
(4) In these the cup is not less than one-third, but less than equal to the length, of the perianth segments.
(5) Yellow and Bicolour Barrii
(6) In these the cup should be less than one-third of the length of the perianth segments. They have as a rule bright-coloured cups, and perianths bright yellow or white.
(7) Large and Small crowned Leedsii, or Eucharis-flowered
(8) Here the outer petals are white, with white or pale yellow or cream cups, sometimes tinged pink.
(6) With short cup, and reflexed outer petals.
(8) Pale j’ellow with darker and very narrow trumpet.
(9) Jonquil flowered, Tazetta or Polyanthus
(10) All bunch-flowered and white or yellow with yellow cups.
(11) Poeticus or Poet’s Narcissus
(12) Petals white or yellow, with red eye.
Daffodils are probably the best of all outdoor bulbs partly because they are natives of Britain and therefore not only flower well but increase in quantity from year to year. They are not particular as tobut like it well drained and deeply dug.
All kinds can be naturalized in grass, so long as the grass is not cut until the leaves have turned quite yellow or brown.
For exhibition culture, the secret of success is to plant early. If a narcissus bulb is dug up almost immediately after the leaves have disappeared it will be found that it is already putting out new roots from the base. This means that the actual resting period is short although the top growth disappears for a time. Exhibition growers usually plant or pot their bulbs in August.
The novice plants right up to Christmas. Late planting is good enough for the cheaper supplies of bulbs which are put into woodland gardens, shrubberies or lawn to naturalize and stay for several years.
All varieties of Daffodils grow reasonably well in pots or bowls. Eeyond potting up rather more deeply than is necessary with hyacinths they need no special treatment. A rather sandy, leafy loam is preferable if ordinary pots are used, and the bulbs should be set so that the tips just show above soil surface. They should not actually touch each other, whether in pot or bowl, but otherwise can be quite close together.
In pots, at least 2 in. of soil should be below the base of the bulb and all pots should be provided with sufficient drainage crocks.
Normal treatment for bulbs indoors is good enough for any variety of narcissus, and though most of the family will grow better and stronger if they are grown in fairly cool conditions, at least in the early stages, one variety—”Paper White Narcissus”—is notorious for its ease in forcing into bloom before Christmas. Kept in soil or fibre at the beginning of August it will usually be in flower before the end of November, or in the first week of December. Where ornamental bowls are used they should be at least 4 or 5 in. deep, except for the dwarf rockery kinds. In bowls or pots, narcissus are best staked with thin split bamboos, but in the open garden they need no staking. In fact the nodding of Daffodils in the spring breezes is one of their chief charms.
Although narcissus can be used in any odd corner of the garden, in the, the wild garden, the water garden and in the mixed border they are equally suitable for formal planting in beds on or in sunk gardens. It is best to associate them with some dwarf carpet plants such as Forget-me-nots, or , and the tall trumpet Daffodils and Narcissus also mix happily with the darker coloured Wallflowers, especially the early variety “Harbinger,” which is almost a winter flower.