Many people believe that the daffodil and narcissus are one and the same, and the truth is, it’s complicated!
We’ve delved into what makes these two flowers the same but different, and hope we answer your questions…
The daffodil belongs to the genus narcissus, which in itself refers to several different plant species. They boast vibrant colours and are a welcomed arrival at the beginning of spring. These flowers are not just a pretty face, they have a more detailed back story than you may realise.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is A Narcissus Flower?
- Are Narcissus and Daffodils The Same Flower?
- How to Grow Narcissus Flowers
- Tips for Planting Narcissus Bulbs
- Common Narcissus Flower Questions
- How Many Varieties Of Narcissus Are There?
- Narcissus Flower Meaning
- Going Back In Time With The Narcissus
- Blooming Through Adversity
What Is A Narcissus Flower?
The term narcissus refers to a genus of fragrant, bulbous plants that form part of the Amaryllidaceae, or amaryllis, family. There are over 40 species of narcissus that include the daffodil, jonquil, and poet’s narcissus. The bulbs of this plant species are poisonous, although they were once used in medicines.
Depending on the species, the plant can grow to up to 1.2 metres high. It’s easily identifiable by the flattened leaves at the base, central cup-shaped crown, and the vibrant colours. Narcissus flowers are ideal for breathing life into your garden and adding a much-needed splash of colour.
Are Narcissus and Daffodils The Same Flower?
Narcissus is a genus and daffodil is a flower of the genus. The term daffodil is often used to refer to any of the flowers belonging to the narcissus genus. So, when you look at it from that perspective, then yes, narcissus and daffodils are technically the same.
How to Grow Narcissus Flowers
Narcissuses can be planted indoors, as borders in your garden, or even in between shrubs.
Narcissus bulbs should be planted in autumn, around three weeks before the first frost that freezes the ground. The best place to plant the bulbs is in a spot that offers sunlight and has fertile soil with adequate drainage. The soil needs to remain moist but is susceptible to rot, so be sure not to keep the plant too wet.
As the plants continue to grow, they will eventually produce more bulbs. They’re attached to the original bulb and will help the flowers grow while remaining confined to one given space.
Tips for Planting Narcissus Bulbs
- Select large, moist, high-quality bulbs
- Plant the bulb with the tip pointing upwards
- The whole must be three times the length of the bulb
- The bulbs should be placed around seven centimetres apart
- A little bit of fertiliser will go a long way
- Divide bulb clumps to alleviate congestion in your garden
- Leave the plants to die off – don’t cut them down before that!
- The flowers can be toxic to animals, so try to keep them in a pet-free zone
- When placing in a vase, avoid putting other flowers with the narcissus as there’s a liquid that the narcissus secretes that causes other flowers to wilt.
Common Narcissus Flower Questions
Are narcissus perennials?
Narcissuses are perennials and will return every spring when given the chance.
How long do narcissus flowers last?
Depending on where you live and the types of narcissus that you’re growing, the flowers can last anywhere from six weeks to six months.
What to do with narcissus after flowering?
Don’t cut the plant before it has properly died off. They use this time to store energy for the next season. Once they have died, you can cut them at the base or simply pull them off.
Will narcissus bulbs rebloom?
Given the right conditions, narcissus flowers can rebloom.
How often do you water narcissus?
The soil needs to remain moist, but not soaking wet. In most cases, it should be watered at least twice a week.
Can narcissus be planted outside?
The flower thrives outside and will bloom in the springtime. However, you can grow them indoors and force them to bloom.
Can narcissus bulbs be reused?
Most bulbs can be reused, assuming that they have not been forced to bloom of course.
How do you force narcissus?
Forcing a narcissus in water: Fill a container with washed stones or gravel. Put the bulbs on top of the stones and cover them with additional gravel and stones, leaving the tip open. Add water and ensure that it touches the bottom at all times.
Forcing a narcissus in a pot: Fill a container halfway with soil, place the bulbs on the soil and then cover with additional soil. The tips of the bulbs need to stick out of the soil. Water the container and keep the soil moist during this time.
Can you plant narcissus bulbs in water?
Yes, water is most commonly used to force bulbs to bloom during winter.
How Many Varieties Of Narcissus Are There?
There are over 13,000 species of narcissus flowers. They’re found in Japan, North Africa, Australia, and Europe, although many of these are hybrids or more modern varieties.
The more commons varieties include:
The narcissus jonquilla is a bright yellow flower that was originally found in the Iberian Peninsula. It has a strong fragrance and deep green leaves.
This flower is a white and yellow flower, identifiable by its red and yellow corona and white petals.
These flowers have a beautiful fragrance, although the bulb has a not so pleasant peppery smell. The brightly coloured and thrive in warmer conditions. When grown indoors, they can produce flowers fairly quickly.
Narcissus triandrus is a creamy, yellowish flower that produces around three flowers per stem towards the end of spring. The petals flare backwards, away from the cup making the flower more conspicuous.
The narcissus bulbocodium is a flower found in Spain, France, and Portugal: The flower resembles a hooped petticoat, which is how it got its name.
Narcissus Flower Meaning
As one of the first pops of colour to emerge from the soil in spring, these white or yellow flowers have become synonymous with light emerging from the darkness. Overcoming adversity and resilience are two of the meanings linked to the flowers. These characteristics make them the ideal birth flower for December, along with other attributes such as:
- Good luck
- Life’s challenges
As much as the flower has positive connotations, it also has some not so pleasant connotations that you need to remember.
Going Back In Time With The Narcissus
The first thing to note is that the Greek word narcosis that describes a numb state. The narcissus is also linked to the Greek myth about Narcissus.
Narcissus’ parents were a river god and nymph. He spent so much time staring at his reflection in the water, so much so that he fell in love with it, became obsessed, and eventually drowned and died. Following his death, the first flower bloomed – right on the spot where he took his last breath.
The flower is therefore a reminder of how self-obsession can be your downfall, but it’s also a symbol of possible change. In the same breath, they’re also the first springtime flower to bloom. They’re always on time, and a symbol of punctuality.
In the Victorian era, the flower symbolised chivalry and unrequited love, while the Chinese view it as a symbol of wealth.
Blooming Through Adversity
The narcissus genus, and daffodil flower, can be grown outside year after year with very little help. Alternatively, you can force them to bloom any time of the year you feel you need to add a splash of colour to your home.