Height from six inches to two feet.
Flowers white and shades of orange and yellow,
March to May.
The Narcissi are all true bulbous plants, forming
each season a new bulb, which contains the germ
of next year’s flowers and foliage. they
are entirely hardy, in the ordinary sense; but
they will dwindle and disappear if left for years
in a heavy and cold or a dry starved soil.
They prefer plenty of moisture during the growing
season – September to May – and a
drier root-run, with a ripening touch from the
sun while they are dormant during the other months.
They should be planted between the end of September
and the end of October; after three or four years
the clumps should be carefully forked up in September,
the strongest bulbs replanted in a new place,
and the smaller roots in some unimportant corner
where they may increase themselves to the flowering
In unfavourable soils, or in cases of removal
from a garden, the bulbs may be lifted as soon
as the foliage begins to wither (about the end
of May), and dried off in the sun.
When quite dry they should be cleaned of dead
leaves, mould and old root-fibres and stored in
a cool, dry place until planting time.
In all cases Narcissi should be allowed to ripen
out their leaves; cutting them off while still
green, for the sake of tidiness, injures the development
of the bulb for next year’s display.
The leaves may be bunched up together, or tied
up to make room for summer bedders or other successional
Good ordinary garden mould, woodland soil or meadow
loam will grow Narcissi to perfection; if the
soil is particularly clayey, or otherwise discouraging,
dig out holes eighteen inches deep, stir plenty
of leaf-mould and sandy grit into the bottom,
fill up with the original soil, mixed with half
its bulk of light compost, and surround the bulbs
at planting with a handful of sharp sand.
This sort of preparation can only be done, of
course, when the planting is on a modest scale.
For practical garden purposes the Narcissus may
be classed under five headings, as follows:
1. The Trumpet Daffodils, single and double,
with the calyx or central tube as long as the
perianth or outer petals.
2. The Chalice Daffodils, with the calyx shorter
than the perianth.
3. The Polyanthus Narcissus.
4. The Pheasant’s Eye Daffodils.
5. The Jonquils.
(1) The Trumpet Daffodils comprise
some of the earliest and some of the commonest
and easiest to grow, as well as some of the most
recent and expensive types. The bulbs should be
planted about four inches deep and two apart,
in clumps of from five to twenty in borders, or
in large masses in turf. The best named kinds
Telamonius plenus: the old English double Daffodil,
Horsfieldii: single, yellow trumpet and white
perianth; a magnificent flower, strong and hardy.
Emperor: single, very large, trumpet yellow, perianth
a lighter shade.
Empress: single, large, yellow trumpet and pale
perianth, in the way of Horsfieldii.
Trumpet Maximus: single trumpet and perianth;
Sir Watkin: single, one of the largest; yellow
trumpet, lighter perianth.
Queen of Spain: pale yellow, reflexed perianth,
In addition to these the following more recent
sorts are to be recommended: Golden Spur, Henry
Irving, Princess Ida, Victoria.
(2) The Chalice Daffodils show
some of the most beautiful colour-contrasts in
the race, the cup being often edged with vivid
orange, set against ivory white or primrose yellow.
The following are all good:
Barrii Conspicuous: single, broad yellow petals,
fading to a paler shade, fringed cup of orange-red.
Figaro: single, perianth primrose, cup golden.
Golden Phœnix, or Incomparabilis: Double
(“Butter and Eggs”), a close-petalled
big flower almost like a rose, the petals of two
shades of yellow, sweet-scented.
Silver or sulphur Phœnix (“Codlins
and Cream”): like the preceding, but of
a weaker growth; the petals of a beautiful primrose
and pale lemon.
Orange Phœnix (“Eggs and Bacon”):
double, very full, the petals creamy white and
Leedsii amabilis: single, six-rayed, star-shaped
perianth, white; cup pale primrose, fading to
Nelsonii Major: single; petals or perianth broad,
ivory-white, cup yellow.
The following are desirable: Flora Wilson, Lorenzo,
Santa Fina, Lulworth.
(3) The Polyanthus Narcissus
puts forth from a scrape or sheath at the top
of a stout stem a cluster of single flowers, resembling
the Chalice or short-trumpet section in shape,
but smaller, and having a powerful scent which
does not please all noses.
The best kinds are:
Gloriosa: white perianth, orange cup.
Grand Monarque: white, pale yellow cup.
Jaune Suprême: yellow, orange cup.
White Pearl: white, cup pale sulphur.
Her Majesty: white, yellow cup.
With the Polyanthus must be classed Narcissus
Biflorus, a very free-growing and hardy kind,
which produces a pair of flowers on each stem,
white with yellow cup, sweet-scented.
(4) The Pheasant’s Eye Narcissus
has broad petals of a particularly fine and pure
white; the cup is small and flat, yellow with
a rim of light scarlet.
In addition to the well-known type (N. poeticus)
there is an earlier kind, poeticus ornatus, flowering
from a fortnight to three weeks sooner; and two
or three “improved” strains, somewhat
larger and with the scarlet of the sup more vivid
in colour than the older kinds; such are the poeticus
poetarum, and others called “grandiflorus”,
“King Edward VII.”, etc., by the taste
of various growers. Poeticus plenus, or Double
White, the “Gardenia Daffodil” is
a very beautiful form, with the pure white petals
and the characteristic spicy scent of the Pheasant’s
It is not difficult to grow, but in backward and
moist springs its flowers sometimes decay before
they can break out of their sheath.
It is the latest of all the daffodils, not blooming
until the end of May.
(5) The Jonquils are a race
of narrow leaves and small yellow flowers, possessed
of a delightful characteristic scent.
They are hardy and easily grown, and may be left
undisturbed for several years.
There is no great choice of sorts; the old single
and double Jonquil and the Campernelle, a single
with larger flowers, are all the varieties grown;
but they are sufficient for any garden.
All the Narcissi, with the exception of the Polyanthus
section, are at their best when grown among grass.
Any one who has any stretch of turf which need
not be mown before the middle of May – a
lawn, pond-banks, the verges of a drive, an orchard
– should plant it thickly and irregularly
with the commoner types of daffodil.
may be put in with a trowel, or for large patches
the turf may be pared off, and when the planting
has been done, laid down again.
In any tolerable loamy soil the bulbs will increase
rapidly, and will spread and naturalise themselves.
In planting in grass, the bulbs should not be
mixed, but should be planted in separate groups
or patches, each of one kind.
See also : Daffodil