Plants - Flower Bulbs

A nod to fragrant daffodils

Stephen Westcott-Gratton
Photography by
Jerry Pavia

Learn how to care for your narcissus and choose a few sweet-smelling cultivars to plant in the fall

Tip: Large areas can be planted inexpensively with vigorous old strains, such as N. ‘Dutch Master’ and N. ‘King Alfred’. Once they're established, stop deadheading and let them self-seed.

Care checklist:
  • Prepare planting holes with plenty of bone meal and well-rotted manure or compost.
  • Where winters are severe, plant bulbs (in autumn) with at least 15 centimetres of soil covering them; then add a dry mulch of fallen leaves and evergreen needles or boughs.
  • Apply a low nitrogen, high phosphorus fertilizer (suchas 10-52-10) immediately after flowering if old clumps begin to lose vigour.
  • Never braid, tie up or cut off maturing foliage; it must ripen and dry naturally to ensure energy for next year’s blooms.

Perfect partners
Complement the gold and white hues of daffodils with similarly coloured spring flowering bulbs and perennials, such as:

  • ‘White City’ Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘White City’)
    Zone 4
  • Common primrose (Primula vulgaris)
    Zone 3
  • ‘Fröhnleiten’ barrenwort (Epimedium x perralchicum ‘Fröhnleiten’)
    Zone 5

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