Caring for Narcissus Plants


Narcissus plants go by many common names, among them "daffodil" and "jonquil," but the family extends beyond these two species. Narcissus applies to all the flowering bulbs in this genus. Plant narcissus bulbs in the late fall before the first frost. Overwintering the bulbs in the soil gives them time to develop strong roots before the summer growing season. The bloom time varies by species, so for continuous color, plant different types together in the garden. The bloom time is listed on the back of the bulb package.

Step 1

Spread a 2-inch layer of well-rotted compost or seasoned manure over the planting area. Work the organic material into the top 4 inches of the soil using a garden fork or a tiller.

Step 2

Dig planting holes that are twice as deep as the bulb. Space the holes 3 to 7 inches apart, with the smaller bulbs closer to 3 inches and the larger bulbs closer to 7 apart. Plant the bulbs.

Step 3

Spread a 2-inch layer of straw mulch over the planting area to protect the bulbs from freezing over the winter. In the spring, after the last frost, remove the top inch of mulch.

Step 4

Water only if the weather is extremely dry. These spring flowering bulbs will obtain most of the moisture they need from the winter and spring rains.

Step 5

Clip the flowers from the stems as soon as they are spent. After the last flower has bloomed and the leaves turn brown, cut the foliage down to the ground.

Step 6

When the flowers begin to look small after the fifth year of blooming, dig up the bulbs and move half of them to a new location. As the bulbs multiply, the clumps become overcrowded, according to Purdue University Extension Program.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost or manure
  • Garden fork or tiller
  • Trowel
  • Straw mulch


  • Purdue University Department of Horticulture: The Narcissus
Keywords: daffodil, jonquil, flowering bulbs, planting bulbs, bulb care, spring bulbs

About this Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a freelance writer with Demand Studio since 2009, writing for GardenGuides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine, and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Palomo is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University Online.