Spring Enjoyment and Care
Before the Narcissus sprouts emerge, loosen or remove any mulch, and as the sprouts first poke through the soil, broadcast a light top dressing of a granular, organic 4-10-6 fertilizer on top of the soil. You may lightly water it in if rain is not forecast. This will help to grow the foliage and flowers.
Enjoy every moment of Narcissus blooms in the spring, for it will be a whole year before you can luxuriate in their beauty and spirit again.
When the flowers start to die back, broadcast another light top dressing of a granular, organic 4-10-6 fertilizer to help grow the bulb itself. After the flowers die, dead-head them an inch of two under the flower, if possible, to avoid the development of an unnecessary seed pod in the neck of the stem.
Allow the stem and foliage to thrive unfettered for six to eight weeks, until they die back naturally for maximum photosynthesis and chlorophyll production that nourishes the bulb. Do not braid foliage, have other plant material grow to cover the foliage or allow it to be mowed down prematurely. Insufficient photosynthesis results in malnourished bulbs that will fail to thrive. Once the foliage has yellowed- or browned-out, it is dead. Then, it may be raked up and discarded. The bulbs are best left in the ground to regenerate.
Fertilizing Narcissus Bulbs
The truth is that the Narcissus bulbs you receive from us are perfect little packages that contain everything they need for glorious blooms the following spring following the development of mature root systems. But it doesn’t hurt to start fertilizing three times a year, after you plant them.
Top dress Narcissus plantings with a 4-10-6 organic granular fertilizer three times a year. This means to broadcast the fertilizer like one would birdseed, at the rate of about one teaspoon per bulb.
First, top dress fertilize in the fall to promote root growth. Second, fertilize in the spring when the sprouts emerge to help grow the foliage and flower, and third, when the flower starts to die back to help nourish the bulb itself. If there is a prolonged dry period after fertilizing, you may water it in lightly.
Bone meal is not recommended because it can attract animals and it is incomplete nutritionally. (The 4-10-6 fertilizer composition refers to 4 parts nitrogen, 10 parts phosphorus and 6 parts potassium.) Avoid root burn by never adding anything to each planting hole.
One should apply no more than a 2″ layer of mulch only after the surface of the ground freezes. The mulch is intended to trap the cold in the soil (not warmth), retain moderate soil moisture and protect the bulbs from temperature spiking. Some good mulching mediums include straw, salt marsh hay or oak leaves. The mulch should be loosened or removed prior to sprout emergence in the spring.