Daffodils (also known as narcissi) are spring-flowering bulbs which add bright color and interest to midwestern landscapes. These plants require very little care and flower reliably year after year.

The most important aspect of narcissus culture is proper selection. By careful planning, you can have narcissi in flower from late March through early May.

Narcissi are well-suited to many landscape design uses, including in front of shrubbery, under large trees, and in rock or perennial gardens. They should not be planted too close to building foundations or under extended eaves, where it may be too dry.

Narcissi are pleasing in areas where they can naturalize, such as woodlands and meadows. They are best if planted in informal groups rather than in rows or formal beds. When planting for naturalizing, take a handful of bulbs and give them a gentle toss. Then plant each bulb wherever it falls.

Types of Narcissus

There are many types of narcissus. Classifications are based on the flower and plant forms. Most gardeners are familiar with the trumpet class, but fewer people are acquainted with the miniatures, the multi-flowered forms, or those that resemble wild species, such as the poeticus or triandrus types.

A point of confusion often arises over the use of the common names “narcissus”, “daffodil”, and” jonquil”. Narcissus is the only correct scientific name for this genus of plants. “Narcissus” as a common name is often used. “Daffodil” is a popular common name for the entire genus, too, but it is most often applied to the large, trumpet flower forms. “Jonquil”, sometimes used in reference to the entire genus, is correctly applied only to the species Narcissus jonquilla and its closely related hybrids.