A very popular cut flower, daffodils, and the early flowering jonquils bring colour and scent to cold winter days. Interestingly, while daffodils do not make the top 10 cut flowers, they are the tenth most popular pot plant in Holland, and potted mini daffodils (like ‘Jetfire’) are very popular in Australia as well.
Daffodils, jonquils and the less well known varieties are often grouped together as ‘Narcissus’ which is the Genus name. The large yellow daffodils like ‘King Alfred’ are still the most popular, but other forms now come in white, cream, pink and pale orange, or a combination of two of these colours. The flowers have a large trumpet, or corona, surrounded by petals. Daffodils tend to have one flower per stem, jonquils, Paperwhite, Earlycheer have several. All forms, except daffodils have a strong scent.
These flowers produce a toxic sap that can kill other flowers, such as roses, carnations, freesias and tulips. To avoid this, do not combine narcissus with other flowers immediately after stem ends are cut (see below). The sap can also cause allergic reactions in some people – so wear gloves when handling.
Narcissus are all grown from bulbs in the field. In Australia they are grown in hilly, cool regions, such as the Dandenongs and Gippsland (Vic) and Dural (NSW).
Types: Daffodil. Jonquil, Paperwhite, Earlycheer
Language: Regard, Unrequited Love, You’re the only one
Birth Flower: March
What to look for
- Daffodils: flowers in bud, but showing a clear yellow colour
- Jonquils: one flower per cluster is open.
- Late in the season all flowers tend to be open, so choose bunches with crisp flowers with strong colour and/or perfume.
- Check stem ends and avoid those with split curled edges.
- Keep cool! Never place in full sun.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem and place in cold water by themselves for 24 hours.
- Combine with other flower types in fresh water and containers after this ’quarantine’ period.
- Do NOT use a preservative.
- Replace vase water with fresh water every day.
- Store upright, as stems will bend upwards if they are lying flat.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The name is derived from the Greek legend of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a stream. He stayed transfixed by the stream and the gods thought he would die of starvation so they changed him into the flower to stay there forever. In English, the name daffodil is derived from an earlier word “affodell”, a variant of asphodel. The reason for the introduction of the initial “d” is not known, though from at least the sixteenth century “Daffadown Dilly” has appeared as a playful synonym of the name.
Botanical Name: Narcissus hybrids N. jonquilla (jonquills) N. tazzetta (paperwhite)
Stem Length: 30 to 60 cm
Country of Origin: South-west Europe
Available Colours: Cream, Orange, Pink, White, Yellow