How to Grow
Optimum Planting Time: September – November
Flowers: February - April
Where to plant
Narcissus are easy to grow from bulbs. They prefer a well-drained soil in full sun, but they will also cope with heavier soils, and with partial or dappled shade.
How to plant in the ground
1. Before planting, dig the soil over with a spade to break up compaction and clear weeds. On heavy soils, dig in quality garden compost and grit to improve drainage.
2. Using a trowel or a bulb planter dig holes around three times the depth of the bulb, approximately 10cm deep and spaced 15cm apart.
3. Plant a bulb in each hole with the pointed tip facing upwards.
4. Fill the holes, firming the soil gently, and water well to settle the soil around the bulbs.
How to plant in containers
1. Narcissus have an extensive root structure, so plant them in a deep container to give the roots room to grow.
2. Bulbs don’t like waterlogged soil, so place crocks (bits of broken pots) at the bottom of the pot to cover the drainage holes and stop them clogging up with compost.
3. Fill the container with bulb compost or multi-purpose compost to around 15cm below the rim.
4. Place the narcissus bulbs on the compost, spaced around 5-8cm apart with the tips of the bulbs pointing upwards.
5. Cover with compost up to around 3cm from the rim of the container. Firm the compost down gently.
Planting indoor narcissus is a great way to have flowers for the festive season, and the delicious fragrance is an added bonus.
1. Choose bulbs that have been prepared for indoor growing, like Narcissus ‘Paperwhite Ziva’
2. Plant the bulbs any time between October and January, approximately 4-6 weeks before you want them to flower.
Planting in a container with drainage:
- Choose a shallow pot with a drainage hole and place it on a driptray. Place a stone or a pot shard inside the pot to cover the drainage hole and stop it being blocked up with compost.
- Fill the pot with multi-purpose compost almost to the top of the pot. Press the bulbs into the compost with their pointed ends facing upwards, so that the top half of the bulb is above the compost. The bulbs can be placed close together so that they are almost touching. Firm the compost around the bulbs and water enough to moisten the compost.
- Place the pot on its drip tray on a sunny windowsill. Water regularly, just enough to keep the compost moist but not sodden. Don’t let the pot sit in a saucer filled with water for long periods or the bulbs may rot.
1. Feed container-grown bulbs with a liquid high-potash fertiliser like tomato feed every 7-10 days, from when the shoots first appear until the foliage starts to die back.
2. Deadhead faded flowers to allow the plants to put all their energy into storing food in the bulbs for next spring.
3. Leave the foliage until it has turned yellow, then cut it back.
Pests and Diseases
Narcissus are usually low-maintenance, but can be susceptible to slugs and snails which eat the foliage and flowers, viruses, basal rot and narcissus bulb fly. Use deterrents such as nematodes, copper tape or pellets to protect against slug damage. Watch out for ‘daffodil blindness’ (bulbs producing foliage but no flowers) which can be caused by shallow planting, leaves removed too early, overcrowding or bulb fly attack.