Narcissus: Houseplant of the month for February 2016
From bright yellow through cream to snow-white, sometimes topped with a bright orange crown – this ultimate harbinger of spring deserves to be the centre of attention right now.
Nothing brings spring indoors like narcissi. The bulbs with green shoots produce smooth stems with narrow, pale brown buds which open out into fabulous trumpet blooms. It’s an instant atmosphere creator which comes into flower fairly quickly. Everything about this beauty shouts about the forthcoming spring. It’s the ideal potted bulb for brightening the home quickly and effectively.
Hooray for spring!
As a fairly minimalist houseplant with pointed leaves and formal stems, the narcissus fits perfectly with the geometric shapes and lines that you often see in interiors nowadays. The plants with the snow-white and bright yellow flowers in particular match wonderfully with the associated primary colours and the optical jumble of patterns.
Not only do narcissi always look very cheerful, but some also release a delectable fragrance which is also very suggestive of spring. Putting narcissi of the same colour together gives a powerful modern look, whilst mixing different varieties has a playful effect. That is reinforced by using pots made of smooth, functional materials such as metal and plastic, but also smooth leather and polished wood.
Double flowers, plain or spotted, large yellow trumpets, small clusters of white flowers: there are some 88 different varieties of narcissi, in twelve categories. They all trace their origin back to the wild narcissus, which has been growing in the northern hemisphere since time immemorial. The varieties that we know here mainly spread to northern Europe from Spain and Portugal.
Narcissi & care
Narcissi grow and bloom best when they have plenty of moisture, so do not allow the soil to dry out. The more water they get, the taller they can become. They flower best in a light spot, and last longest if their surroundings are not too warm. Because they always seek out the sun, potted narcissi indoors should preferably be turned from time to time to prevent them from growing twisted. Potted narcissi also look good in glass: rinse off the soil and place it on a layer of water. The whole process of root-bulb-stem-flower is then displayed in layers.
- Narcissi have been growing and blooming in the northern hemisphere since time immemorial.
- Place potted narcissi in a ceramic jug to make a potted bouquet.
- The plant is named after the idle hunter in Greek mythology. Narcissus was so in love with his reflection in the water that he ultimately drowned in it. That is why narcissi are always looking down a little.
- You can use the yellow varieties to prepare your home for Easter (27 March) quickly and easily: they come in colours ranging from soft cream to bright yellow.
- Potted narcissi often come with three bulbs in one pot, based on the motto ‘all good things come in threes’.
- The narcissus is the national plant of Wales. Originally it was leeks: soldiers in the early Middle Ages wore them on their hat in order to distinguish one another from the enemy. In Welsh the word for leek is very similar to that for narcissus. Cenhinen = Leek, Cenhinen Pedr = Daffodil/Narcissus. And because the latter is rather more attractive than leeks, it gradually became the national symbol over time. It helps that the flower grows and blooms there lavishly.
- Cutting off wilted flowers leaves the bulb with more energy for the rest of the plant.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 28 January 2016