This week’s plant of the week is the daffodil, known by the scientific name Narcissus. The name is based on the mythology of the Greek god Narcissus, whose vanity leads to his own death and all that remains of him after he dies is a flower. Interestingly, Narcissus’ mother’s name was Liriope, another (unrelated) garden plant. Daffodils are also known as jonquils, and some specific types are called paperwhites or tazettas.
Daffodils are spring ephemeral bulbs that usually bloom in February-April, depending on the type, but some may bloom as early as December or as late as May. ‘Spring ephemeral’ means that they grow and bloom in the spring, and go dormant in the summer through winter. They grow best in full sunlight, but will tolerate just afternoon or morning sun. They grow well under deciduous or pine trees where the winter light can reach and recharge them before the trees are fully leafed out. They will not grow well in wet soils, as the bulbs will rot. There is a huge range of flower sizes and color combinations, from white and pale cream, to brilliant yellow and dark orange.