Narcissus cultivation

Ideal watering and exposure for the narcissus

The narcissus plant has no particular water needs but should be supported with daily watering in the summer, especially if exposed in a very sunny place. In autumn and winter, the rains are enough to satisfy the plant’s need for water. The important thing is to avoid over-watering and to ensure good drainage for the narcissus, because the bulbs can rot easily. Being a wild plant, the narcissus adapts well to any place as long as it is not in direct contact with heat sources or south-facing walls. This plant is not particularly afraid of the cold but, in case of too cold winters, it needs a protection at the base, to be done with a «mixed mulch» composed of pine needles and chopped conifer bark.

Narcissus cultivation and care

The propagation of the narcissus can take place by seeds or by dividing the bulbs. This second method is preferable, because it allows to obtain a plant with the same characteristics as the «mother» one, but it has a defect: the new bulbs root quickly and guarantee an excellent vegetative development but, for flowering, it is necessary to wait at least a couple of years. To carry out the agamic multiplication with the cloves, it is necessary to intervene at the end of the summer cycle and, in any case, before the plant is put to rest. The narcissus growing medium must be soft, fertile and ensure good water drainage. The bulbs should be planted at a depth equal, at most, to 2 times their size and it is very important to space them well: they should be about 30 cm from each other.

Narcissus fertilization and pruning

The support to the narcissus by means of fertilizers must occur in conjunction with the flowering of the plant, on a monthly basis. The best solution is liquid fertilizers, to be diluted in irrigation water, rich in phosphorus and potassium, but low in nitrogen. The growing substrate of the plant, then, must always be kept fertile: to rebalance a soil that is too clayey, it can be added with compost or horse manure. Pruning of daffodils should only be done in the case of excessive foliage which, if not removed, could suffocate the plant and prevent its proper growth and flowering. The leaves should be pruned only after they have dried, in order not to traumatize the bulbs. It is recommended to remove the withered flowers and any dry unopened buds.

Narcissus diseases and remedies

The narcissus is not subject to many diseases or to particular parasitic attacks. The most delicate part of the plant consists of the bulbs which, in the presence of water stagnation, can rot. In such cases, it is necessary to promptly eradicate the dead bulb to prevent it from affecting those of the other adjacent plants. Every 3 or 4 years, all plants should be dug up and relocated at suitable distances to allow their vegetative development. It is also necessary to pay attention to winter frosts which can seriously damage the bulbils. If the mulching protection is not enough, they must be extracted and, after having left them to dry for a couple of days and having removed the soil, they are put to rest in a bed of sawdust until spring.

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