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How to Plant Narcissus Bulbs

There are 40 different species of narcissus and all belong in the family Amaryllidaceae, which includes daffodils and amaryllis. In fact, all varieties of daffodils are narcissus, though some people break them into two categories. Most of the known species of narcissus are native to Europe. Their blooms come in colors of white, yellow and pink and are quite fragrant, making them a popular spring bulb to add to the garden. Growing narcissus bulbs is relatively easy and they are quite hardy once established in the landscape.

Select a section of your garden to plant the narcissus bulbs that is located in full to partial sunlight. The bulbs will grow best if situated in an area that receives at least four to five hours of sunlight daily. Bulbs planted in full shade may not sprout.

Plant your narcissus bulbs in October, if the weather has started to cool. Wait for cool weather to develop, if your weather conditions are still warm at this time. Planting the bulbs in fall will allow the root system to develop by springtime blooming season.

Remove any grass, weeds or other vegetation that is growing in the planting site. Pull the vegetation out by hand, or use a weeder to remove them. Wait one to two weeks before planting the narcissus bulbs, if you sprayed the area with herbicide. The poison must wash from the soil prior to planting.

Amend the planting site’s soil with organic material such as compost, manure or peat and make sure the area drains very well. Narcissus will perform best in rich, well-draining soils. Work the organic material into the existing soil approximately six to eight inches. There must be a layer of organic material below the planted bulb.

Amend the planting site with bonemeal and wood ash, per the instructions on the package and the size of your planting area. Work the substances into the soil to the same depth as the organic material.

Plant the bulb in medium weight soils two times deeper than the greatest diameter of the bulb. For example, plant a two-inch bulb, four inches deep into the soil. Plant the bulb in sandy or lightweight soils, three times deeper than the greatest diameter of the narcissus bulb. For example, plant a two-inch bulb, six inches deep.

Dig an appropriate size hole with a trowel and place the bulb into it, flat side down. Cover the bulb with soil and pat down lightly with your hand.

Water the planting site to keep it moist while the bulbs are germinating. Once the foliage appears, continue to keep the area moist but not soggy. Narcissus will grow best with regular watering.


Blooms appear in spring.

Place cut narcissus flowers into their own separate vase, as their sap is toxic to other flowers.

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