Early yellow Spring blooms, welcome the Narcissus flower!

Field of yellow narcissus

Narcissus is one of the flowers that symbolize the end of winter. Many find it appealing for its cute blooming.

Key Narcissus facts

NameNarcissus
FamilyAmaryllidaceae
Type Spring bulb

Height – 4 to 16 inches (10 to 40 cm)
Exposure – full sun and part sun
Soil – ordinary

Flowering – Spring

Proper planting and care will boost blooming, which can turn into a true event when your narcissus are planted in large clusters.

Planting Narcissus

Narcissus is an easy bulb flower to please, happy in most gardens, but they’ll bloom best in richer soil.

For a sea of blooms in the garden

Narcissus bulbs are planted ideally during the months of September, October and November.

  • Make a hole about three times deeper that bulb size to protect it from winter frost spells.
  • Narcissus bulbs are planted pointed tip facing up.
  • Plant them by the dozen in the same spot to create clustered spots of color!
  • You can plant some in the sun, some in the shade, some in part each so that their blooming will be staged.

Space each bulb about 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) from the next and create the clumped spots by planting 10 to 15 bulbs in this tight configuration.

Potted narcissus kept indoors

Narcissus in a potFlower shops are able to offer beautiful potted narcissus in Winter. This is out of the normal blooming cycle: for this to happen, the bulbs were forced. It is also possible for you to “force” your narcissus to bloom indoors anytime from Fall until the beginning of Spring.

  • Starting in September and until January,
  • In a pot or tray, prepare a bed of soil mix 1 to 1½ inches (3 to 4 cm) thick.
  • Place 2 or 3 narcissus bulbs close together, touching so as to have a nice tight bearing.
  • Cover with soil mix, barely letting the tip of the bulbs jut out.
  • Place the pot in a cool, dark and rather moist place.
  • As soon as leaves start appearing, place the pot in a well-lit place that is a bit warmer, around 50 to 60°F (10 to 15°C).
  • A few days later, you can bring them in your house to admire the blooming.

Caring for narcissus

Narcissus species and varietiesDon’t cut the leaves off your narcissus until they’ve naturally turned yellow. This step is crucial to their lifecycle, it’s when they store nutrients in their bulb for the next blooming season. If you remove narcissus leaves just after blooming, they won’t have had enough time to build up a reserve of nutrients. They probably won’t bloom again in the following spring. You can keep watering after the blooming and even add flower plant fertilizer.

Potted narcissus

Potted narcissus are usually set indoors during Winter. It is difficult to keep them in their pot since they won’t bloom again, unless you plant them outside after flowering.

  • Nonetheless, you can still plant those bulbs outdoors and they might bloom again within the next year or two, but it isn’t always guaranteed.

All there is to know about narcissus

There is a number of narcissus species and varieties, such as the famous daffodil (Narcissus jonquilla) that enchants our gardens as Winter subsides. Even though the blooming season for Narcissus is rather short (about 15 days), nonetheless you’ll marvel at the tufts of bright color in the garden, while the next Spring flowers, tulips, haven’t yet bloomed.

The legend of Narcissus comes from GreeceAs the legend goes, narcissus relates to ancient Greek mythology. Narcissus was a handsome young man who brutally rejected the love of the nymph Echo, was punished by the gods and was condemned to loving only himself – hence the word narcissist. Every day, he would contemplate his own image in the reflection of a water fountain. One day, he even tried to kiss his own image, drowned, and was turned into a flower, the narcissus.

Smart tip about narcissus

Once the leaves have wilted away, you can cut off those ungainly dry strands, and your narcissus is ready again to bloom in the following year! Don’t mow the patch down before the leaves have dried off completely, though, or they won’t flower again in the next year.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Field of yellow by M’s ★ under © CC BY 2.0
Narcissus in a teapot by Sanna ★ under Pixabay license
Red-ringed narcissus center by Lapichon ☆ under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Fire under snow by Myriam Zilles ★ under Pixabay license