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Bulbs and bulblike plants, Flowers

Beyond their fascinating variety in flower form and color, these natives of Europe and North Africa offer numerous appealing traits. They are permanent, increasing from year to year; they stand up to cold (most are hardy to –30––F/ –34––C) and heat; and they are useful in many garden situations. Given minimum care at planting, they thrive with virtually no further attention. These plants do not require summer watering (but will take it), need only infrequent division (and will even survive without it), and are totally unappetizing to gophers and deer. They bloom in late winter or spring. All plants known by the names daffodil, narcissus, and– jonquil are properly Narcissus.

Flowers may be borne singly or in clusters. Colors are basically yellow and white, but there are many variations: shades of orange, red, apricot, pink, cream. Some are fragrant. Leaves may be straight and flat (strap shaped) or narrow and rushlike.

Use them among trees and flowering shrubs, in ground-cover plantings, near water, in rock gardens, or in borders. Naturalize them in sweeping drifts where space is available.

Narcissus bulbocodium

Stems to 6 in. tall bear small yellow flowers that are mostly trumpet, with almost threadlike perianth segments. Foliage is grassy.

Plant is hardy to about –10°F/ –23°C.

Narcissus Double daffodil 'Tahiti', photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic
Narcissus Double daffodil 'Tahiti', photo courtesy of Saxon Holt/PhotoBotanic

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Narcissus Double daffodil

Cup has segments that are separate rather than joined together. Flower looks like a peony rather than a typical daffodil. One flower or more per stem. Examples are ‘Delnashaugh’ and ‘My Story’ (white perianth segments,pink cup segments), ‘Tahiti’ (yellow segments, red cup), and ‘Manly’ (white segments,yellow cup).

Narcissus tazetta

These are early blooming, cluster-flowering daffodils popularly known by the name “narcissus.” Each stem bears four to eight or more very fragrant flowers with short cup. Many have white perianth segments and yellow cup, but there are other color combinations. Tazettas are often grown indoors in bowls of pebbles and water (keep dark and cool until growth is well along, then gradually bring into light). Hardy to about 10°F/–12°C.

'Dutch Master'

This classic yellow trumpet daffodil grows 18-20 in. high. blooms in early midseason.

'February Gold'

Grows 12-14 in. tall, has a good, golden trumpet, with one flower per stem. Its perianth segments are strongly recurved. Blooming in February most places, it’s among the earliest-flowering daffodils you can grow.


Grows 5-6 in. tall, producing light to medium yellow flowers in clusters. It comes late, is long lasting, and very pretty. Like most Triandrus hybrids, its cup is at least two-thirds the length of perianth segments, and there are several flowers to each stem.

'Ice Follies'

Like most large-cupped hybrids, 'Ice Follies' cup is shorter than perianth segments but more than one-third their length; one flower per stem. Grows 1—2 ft. tall. Each flower is creamy white with a fringed yellow cup.

'Mt. Hood'

This is an outstanding daffodil that opens very pale yellow and matures to pure white, both in cup and perianth. It grows 18 in. tall, blooms at midseason.

'Pheasant’s Eye'

Perianth segments are white; a very short, broad cup comes in a contrasting color, usually with red edges.


Each stem bears two to four small, very fragrant flowers with yellow segments and a white cup; foliage is often rushlike. Grows 1—2 ft. tall.

Narcissus hybrid 'Salome'
Narcissus hybrid 'Salome'

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Large-cupped daffodils. Cup is shorter than perianth segments but always more than one-third their length; one flower per stem. Varieties with white perianth segments and colored cup include Romance’,‘Salome’ (pink cup)


Yellow dwarf, with one flower per stem.

Narcissus Triandrus hybrid 'Thalia'
Narcissus Triandrus hybrid 'Thalia'

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These multiple flowers are white and fragrant; easily a favorite of many seasoned gardeners. Mid to late season bloom, 1—2 ft. tall.

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