Narcissus and Daffodils

Gift Kit - Paperwhites Forcing Kit (Medium)


Paperwhites Forcing Kit! (3 Bulbs in a reclaimed unique orchid Pot) A unique and lovely gift for everyone. This kit is has everything one needs to have beautiful indoor fresh flowers during the cold months. Plant the bulbs near the surface of the...

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All daffodils are in the genus Narcissus, so why do we refer to some by their species name “tazetta” and others we simply call “daffodils”?  It is an issue of common word usage in our modern garden vernacular.

Narcissus tazetta flowers have smaller cups, but a LOT more of them. Outer petals can be white, yellow, or orange and the inner cup can be white, yellow, or orange, and there can be many combinations in between. The “tazetta” group is valued because most bulbs in this category are great perennials, and a gardener can choose selections that bloom in December, January, February, and March! Common selections include:

  1. November/December/January (depending on the weather): Chinese sacred lilies (Narcissus tazetta orientalis). This wonderfully fragrant flower is used to celebrate the new year in many cultures!

  2. January: Italicus (Narcissus tazetta italicus).  This reliable January bloomer is found in old Spanish and French settlements across Louisiana, and does well in our Zone 8 each year near Tyler, TX. It brightens up our farm in spectacular ways!

  3. January/February: Double Roman (Narcissus tazetta romanus). The double form of the Chinese sacred lily, this somewhat more frost-sensitive selection packs a fragrance and form that is other-worldly.  

  4. February/March: Grand Primo (Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo). One of the toughest, most reliable bloomers, this stalwart belongs in every temperate climate garden.  More resistant to freeze damage than many of the other tazetta bulbs.

Daffodils are Narcissus that have larger, more elongated cups, and are what the public often associates with spring.  They are more prone to “fizzle out” after 3-5 years, but some selections provide large blooms for many years.

  1. Lent lily (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) is the traditional trumpet daffodil that will continue to put out trumpet shaped blooms for generations. This bulb is the species selection that breeders have used over the centuries to give us the large trumpet shaped modern selections.

  2. King Alfred: the actual King Alfred is a selection that is harder to find, and very often gardeners will find bulbs labeled “King Alfred Type” to imply the large yellow/golden trumpet blooms.  Great as an annual bulb for a one time show of large trumpet blooms!

  3. Carlton: a popular large yellow trumpet selection that will often provide 3-5 years of great trumpet shaped blooms

  4. Ice Follies: large white petals and a large yellow trumpet. A very popular selection and often paired with Carlton for a 3-5 year perennial display of trumpet shaped blooms

  5. Any and everything else! There are thousands of daffodil selections in the market, from gold to yellow to white to pink—large, small, and miniature. Experiment and have fun!

Remember, plant now! The number one reason why bulbs don’t survive is that people forget to plant them!