Narcissus narcissus

(nar-ciss' us)

Common name: Daffodil, Narcissus, Jonquil

Family: Amaryllidaceae, Amaryllis

Height x width: 6-24" depending on cultivar x 3"

Growth rate: rapid

Bulbs: generally 1-2" across, tan, pointed, outer scales flaky,often for larger grades with several smaller bulbs attached ("double nose")

Foliage: varies with species; for trumpet daffodil basal, straplike ¾" wide to 15" long, glaucous green; narrower, shorter and darker green for smaller-flowered species

Flowers: outer ring of petals or perianth segments, generally perpendicular to flower stem and inner corona; inner corona either trumpet-like tube or short ring-like; various color combinations of yellows, pinks, white, pastel derivations, orange; early to mid spring

Hardiness: zones 4-8

Soil: well-drained

Light: sun, tolerates part shade

Pests and problems: bulb rots, nematodes, bulb mites, slugs (all are generally not usual)

Landscape habit, uses: naturalizing, massing in borders, containers, forcing of some cultivars

Other interest: native to Europe and Mediterranean; daffodil and narcissus are used interchangeably although in commerce daffodil often refers to ones with large trumpets; jonquil actually refers to jonquilla species; name from the mythical Greek youth Narcissus who was turned into a flower by the Gods when he became totally entranced with his own reflection

Other culture: plant smaller bulbs 2-3" deep and 4" apart; larger trumpet type bulbs 6" deep and 6-12" apart

Propagation: offset bulblets from mother bulb after flowering and foliage dies


Of the 50 or so species, the following are the most common. Cultivars are complex hybrids of many other cultivars and species.

asturiensis (as-tur-ee-en' siss)--miniature to 5" tall, native to Portugal, cold hardy to zone 6, tiny golden blooms early

bulbocodium (bul-bo-co' dee-um)--Yellow Hoop Petticoat, cold hardy to zone 6, native to eastern Mediterranean, single horizontal flower to 12" high, pale to golden yellow.

cyclamineus (cii-cla-min' ee-us)--native to Pyrenees, cold hardy to zone 4, solitary drooping deep yellow flower to 12" high

jonquilla (john-quill' ah)--Jonquil, native to Spain and Portugal, cold hardy to zone 4, yellow flower with yellow cup to 15" high


x odorus (o-door' us)--Campernelle Jonquil, native to eastern Mediterranean, fragrant bright yellow flowers to 12" tall, cold hardy to zone 6.

papyraeus (pa-pyr-aa' cee-us)-- Paper White Narcissus, native to eastern Mediterranean, cold hardy to zone 8, white petals and white cup-shaped corona 12-18" high, not cold-requiring for bloom, commonly forced to bloom at Christmas

poeticus (po-e-ti-cuss')--Poet's of Pheasant's Eye Narcissus, native to So. and central Europe, cold hardy to zone 4, usually white petals with flat yellow corona with red margin, 12-18" high

pseudonarcissus (sue-do-nar-ciss' us)--native to Britain and France, under 12" tall, trumpet type

tazetta (ta-zet' tah)--Polyanthus or Bunch-flowered Narcissus, native to Mediterranean through Asia, cold hardy to zone 8, white petals with yellow cup-shaped corona 12-15" high.

triandrus (trii-an' druss)--Angel's Tears, native to western Europe, cold hardy to zone 4, white to bright yellow with cup-shaped corona, bell-shaped 1-6 flowers to 12" high, one of oldest species in cultivation. 


Cultivars have been classified into 12 divisions by the RHS (Royal Horticulture Society). Within each division cultivars are designated by color according to a code system where W=white, G=green, Y=yellow, O=orange, P=pink, R=red. Letters before a hyphen refer to the outer perianth petals, those following the hyphen refer to the corona color. There may be up to 3 colors for the corona, in order of eye zone, mid zone, and rim color. Thus for instance 3W-GYO means division 3, white petals, and the corona with green eye zone, yellow mid zone and orange rim.


1. Trumpet daffodils of garden origin, one flower per stem, corona is equal to or longer than petals, 14-18" tall with 5-6" tall miniatures.

2. Large-cupped daffodils of garden origin, one flower per stem, corona over a third the length of petals but not as long as, 14-18" tall.

3. Small-cupped daffodils of garden origin, one flower per stem, corona less than a third the length of the petals, 14-16" tall, bloom early.

4. Double daffodils of garden origin, one or more flowers per stem, double petals or corona or both, 14-18' tall.

5. Triandrus daffodils of garden origin, like species, usually 2 or more pendant flowers per stem, petals reflexed, 12-16" with 8' miniatures, bloom late spring.

6. Cyclamineus daffodils of garden origin, like species, one flower per stem, petals reflexed, flower at acute angle to stem with short stalk (pedicel), 6-12" tall with 1-8" tall miniatures, popular for forcing early in pots.

7. Jonquilla daffodils of garden origin, like species, 1-3 flowers on a rounded stem in cross-section, narrow dark-green leaves, petals not reflexed, fragrant, 12-16" tall, bloom mid to late spring.

8. Tazetta daffodils of garden origin, like species, 3-20 flowers on a stout stem, broad leaves, petals not reflexed, strong fragrance, 18" tall, hybrids with jonquilla hardy to zone 5.

9. Poeticus daffodils of garden origin, like species, one flower per stem, petals white, corona usually disk shaped and green or yellow with red rim, 16-18" tall, fragrant.

10. Species, wild variants, hybrids including doubles

11. Split-corona (butterfly) daffodils of garden origin, corona split not lobed and for over half its length, quite variable group.

12. Miscellaneous daffodils including those not in any of the above.
Cultivars division perianth corona height other
'Actaea' 9 white yellow 18" green eye, red edge
'Ambergate' 2 orange red  18"  
'Amor' 3 white orange-red 14"  
'April Tears' 5 yellow yellow 8" 2-3 per stem
'Baby Moon' 7 yellow lemon yellow 7" several blooms per stem
'Barrett Browning' 3 white orange 16"  
'Beersheba' 1 white white 14"  
'Bridal Crown' 4 yellow yellow 12" clusters
'Carbineer' 2 yellow orange 14"  
'Carlton' 2 gold gold 14"  
'Cassata' 11 white lemon yellow 14" wide spreading cup
'Ceylon' 2 yellow orange 14" long lasting
'Cheerfulness' 4 white yellow 15" fragrant
'Dolly Mollinger' 11 white orange-red 16" ruffled cup
'Dutch Master' 1 gold gold 15" improved King Alfred
'February Gold' 6 gold gold 10" early, long trumpet
'February Silver' 6 white white 10" early, long trumpet
'Flower Record' 3 white yellow 16" orange rim on cup
'Fortissimo' 2 gold red-orange 16"  
'Foundling' 6 white apricot-pink 12" reflexed petals
'Geranium' 8 white orange-red 14"  
'Golden Harvest' 1 gold gold 14"  
'Grand Soleil d'Or' 8 yellow orange 12" fragrant
'Hawera' 5 yellow lemon yellow 8" 4-6 pendulous per stem
'Ice Follies' 2 white lemon yellow  14" cup turns white
'Ice Wings' 5 white white 12" reflexed petals, long cup
'Jack Snipe' 6 white lemon yellow 10" vigorous, naturalizes well
'King Alfred' 1 yellow yellow 16" century old
'Liberty Bells' 5 yellow lemon yellow 15" similar to Hawera
'Little Beauty' 1 white gold 8"  
'Little Gem' 1 yellow yellow 6"  
'Magnet' 1 white yellow 17"  
'Manley' 4 yellow yellow 18" double
'Mary Copeland' 4 white white 16" double, orange among
'Minnow' 8 yellow yellow 7"  
'Mount Hood' 1 white white 16" large flowers
'Peaches and Creme' 1 white pink 16"  
'Peeping Tom' 6 gold gold 12" reflexed petals, long trumpet
'Pipit' 7 yellow white 7"  
'Professor Einstein' 2 white orange-red 15"  
'Rosy Wonder' 1 white pink 18"  
'Silver Chimes' 8 white yellow 12" late bloom, silvery white
'Sir Winston Churchill' 4 white yellow 16" double
'Spellbinder' 1 yellow greenish  16"  
'Salome' 1 white pink, long  16"  
'Suzy' 7 yellow orange, flat 16"  
'Tahiti' 4 yellow gold, orange 16" double
'Tête à Tête' 6 gold gold 8" 2 flowers per stem
'Thalia' 5 white white 14" 3-5 per stem, fragrant
'Tricolet' 11 white orange 16"  
'Unsurpassable' 1 yellow yellow 18" large flowers

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | HGPO course | PSS123 course