Seed-Starting 101 Mini Course
Floret Originals Seed Sale FAQ
Home Blog More reasons to love narcissus
October 8th 2017

More reasons to love narcissus

Written by
Hello Account

Near the top of my to-do list every fall is to tuck in a few more daffodil bulbs into my garden. As one of the first flowers to bloom in abundance each spring, daffodils and narcissus are always a welcome sight after many months of gray winter days.

These versatile, beautiful blooms are a must-have for any cutting garden. Yet, you mention daffodils, many floral designers will cringe. This is often because they instantly think of the the traditional big yellow trumpet bell blooms. But, trust me, there is a world of beauty beyond the bags of bright yellow King Alfred cultivars commonly found at most garden centers.

Daffodils and narcissus come in so many incredible shapes, forms, scents and sizes and make fantastic additions to seasonal floral designs. A couple years ago, I went a little overboard while ordering different varieties in preparation for writing and shooting photos for my book, Cut Flower Garden. When spring finally rolled around, all of the time it took to plant all of those bulbs was totally worth it, as I am rewarded with armloads of beautiful and unusual blooms every spring.

Staples of the spring cutting garden

Here at Floret we grow dozens of beautiful varieties and each year expand our collection. This diverse flower group is rarely plagued by pests or disease, plus deer and other varmints usually steer clear of them. Narcissus come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes and many even have a sweet scent.

Fall-planted bulbs produce hardy, easy to grow spring flowers that thrive in both sun or part shade. As an added bonus, bulbs multiply rapidly, and in just 2 to 3 years after planting, you’ll have at least double what you started with, making them reliable workhorses in the early spring garden.

After a long, super busy summer, we’re all ready for some much-needed rest. But I know that if we can just power through a little longer and tuck the bulbs in this fall, the reward next spring will be worth it.

Planting Tips

There are two different methods for growing these cheerful spring bloomers, depending on whether you simply want to add color to your spring landscape or harvest them in abundance as cut flowers. No matter how you plant them, be sure to pick a spot that gets at least partial sun and doesn’t have standing water, since really wet soils will encourage bulbs to rot.

In the garden, narcissus make the most impact when planted en masse. For a dazzling display, I recommend ditching the bulb planter and instead plant groupings of at least 10-20 bulbs.

Simply dig out a generous circle of soil, 6-8 inches deep, mix in a little bulb fertilizer, compost, and then plant your bulbs at a depth 3 to 4 times the bulb’s height, and as far apart as they are wide. Once your bulbs are securely in place, water deeply and then refill the hole with the soil you removed earlier. Add a few inches of well rotted compost on top to act as a mulch. Be sure to insert some type of stake so you remember where you planted them.

If your intention is to grow narcissus solely for cutting then you can follow this same method but plant bulbs in long trenched rows for easy harvesting.

Harvest & Care Tips

In the spring, harvest blooms that haven’t fully opened. If picked when the buds are fully colored, but still slightly nodding (also known as the “goose neck” stage) a solid week of vase life can be expected. Wear gloves when harvesting narcissus as they ooze a slimy sap that can cause skin irritation.

This slimy sap is also toxic to other flowers and will shorten their vase life significantly. To avoid affecting other blooms in an arrangement, you’ll need to “condition” the narcissus first. To do this, place freshly cut stems into cool water, on their own, for 2 to 3 hours; during that time, the stem ends will callus over and the toxic sap will stop flowing. After that, don’t recut the narcissus stems when adding them to arrangements because the sap will start leaking all over again.

Of course, you can create an arrangement solely of narcissus, either just one variety or several, and the sap won’t be an issue.

Floret's Favorites

Over the years we have conducted trials on dozens of different narcissus looking for varieties that have exceptional qualities: good weather resistance, fragrance, unique coloring, long vase life, and beautiful flower forms.

Here are a few of my latest favorites:

Narcissus ‘Delnashaugh’ The regal flowers on this beautiful variety conjure images of water lilies. The frilly, peachy centers look like layers of petticoats.  Tall, sturdy stems support these treasures in the vase or garden.

Narcissus ‘White Lion’ The large fragrant blooms of this magnificent variety are made up of multiple layers of buttercream and ivory petals. Each ruffled bloom sits atop a tall, strong stem.

Narcissus ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’ One of the latest varieties to flower, this cheery bloomer has multiple buttercream blossoms that sit atop tall stems. They are highly scented and combine well with anything.

Narcissus ‘Extravaganza’ This spectacular bloomer is named for its full orange-pink trumpet strikingly framed by ivory white flower petals. There are few flowers that embrace spring’s arrival like ‘Extravaganza.’

‘Pink Charm’ The pretty white petals contrast beautifully with the large central cup and the edges of which look like they were dipped in the perfect shade of peachy-pink.

‘Replete’ The super ruffled flowers of this fragrant variety always remind me of fancy ladies in petticoats. A showy blend of cream, peachy pink, and soft orange. One of the best on the market and a must grow for flower arranging.

You can find all of the above, plus more new narcissus offerings in the Floret Shop. 


  1. Shannon King on

    Narcissus and Daffodils are by far my favourite flower. They tell me that spring is here to stay. And they’re just so cheerful after 5 long months of winter. My flower beds overflow with all kinds of varieties in spring from tiny ‘minnow’ to the largest trumpets. Ruffles and colours and scents. I can’t wait to plant rows and rows for cut flowers

  2. Sean O'Bryan on

    Dear Floret Team,
    I have been a wall flower on your site and blog for months now. I found my way to your site through my research on what has turned into an unstoppable drive toward turning the page in my life and heeding the call for what truly provide richness and “sense” along my path. I am bumping up against 50 (what the?!?!) and currently hold a senior executive position in a biotech company. I have worked hard to get where I am and it pays well albeit stressful hard work. However, the hardest part of my job has become trying to remain interested and engaged while I push back persistent thoughts of my gardening and desire to eat, sleep and breathe working with plants and building a business that TRULY makes a difference – in the immediate and the grand scale – butterfly wings. The call is getting too large to ignore yet it will be the equivalent of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without a parachute. But its inevitable. Although I am feel I have taken too long to get to this nexus – just 30 summers left – it’s only a handful of tomorrows before I can leap for the net to appear. If you will it, it is no dream. I aim to be the answer for those in the Boston/Cambridge area who thirst for enchanting Dahlia flowers and arrangements to enrich their every day lives.
    Now that is out of the way, I wanted to ask something that has come as I read a few of your posts. It seems you are fully on board with tilling your fields and plating bulbs by bedding. In light of the no-till and permaculture movement, which, as far as I can tell makes perfect sense, do you consider the effects regarding soil loss productivity (ie. bacterial colony loss – mycelium) as a result soil disruption? You clearly have a system that works but perhaps it could even be better if you employed no-till?
    Response or not, thank you for doing what you do and for bringing the beauty.


  3. Hanna Jenkins on

    Do you grow your daffodils in your unheated hoop house as perennials as well? We have one large unheated hoop house and I’d like to start daffodils in there for early harvest but can’t give up the real estate for perennials. We’re in Zone 5b and I was thinking about using low tunnels covered in plastic. Do you think that would still allow for earlier spring bulbs? Or just go all field? Thanks!

  4. Ruth on

    Hi Floret Team, I read the post with great interest and was wondering what tool or machine you use to dig the rows for planting. I didn’t find any information in the book neither but would love some information to improve my efficiency :)
    Thank you!

  5. April Holder on

    I just read this post as well as the previous on tulips and was wondering if you could clarify harvesting the bulbs. For the tulips can you store and re-plant the same bulb? And second do you dig up the narcissus bulbs and separate and re-plant or leave them in the ground over winter?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Team Floret on

      Hi April,
      As flower farmers, we harvest tulips bulb and all. When it comes to sell them, we cut off the bulb and compost it. While you could try to save and re-plant the bulbs, they never flower as well the second year, which unfortunately just doesn’t cut it when it comes to commercial production. As for narcissus, we leave the bulbs in the ground over winter.

  6. Marcia on

    Sad, but not surprised, to discover the tulips had sold out in a day. I am a big fan of tulips, preferring the earliest bloomers to shake off the winter doldrums.

  7. Laura on

    Very interesting about the sap issue; I haven’t tried cutting them yet so I didn’t know this! Maybe a stupid question, but – what is the difference between the names narcissus and daffodil? (I thought they were essentially the same thing?)

  8. Sarah H. on

    Question: I bought your Replete narcissus and would like to know if they will grow in a box. I have a large wooden box, about 5 feet long and 3.5 feet deep, and it is already lined and contains rich, fertilized soil. Will they grow in that or should I plant them only in the ground?

  9. Meenakshi Singh on

    Pretty flowers make each person’s life more significant and your blog is one of those places where I find motivation from designing beautiful and fresh flowers for my clients. I like the post very much. Keep it up and helping us.

  10. Madison Puch on

    These are all so beautiful! Mine from last year were champion bloomers, my mom adored them!


Leave a Comment

Floret Farm's Small Plot: Big Impact

Small Plot: Big Impact

Inspiring stories, profiles & advice from 45 flower growers from around the world

Stay in the loop with our updates


Join Us

Join the Floret newsletter and stay in the loop on all the exciting happenings here on the farm