How to plant Narcissus bulbs


Narcissi (or Daffodils) have inspired poets and brightened up spring gardens for hundreds of years. They’re tough, reliable plants, and the bulbs are likely to settle into your garden, reblooming every year. They’re great in containers and you can get an early show by forcing them to flower indoors. Some cultivars flower earlier in spring than others, so you can plant varieties that flower at different times to extend the flowering season.

Narcissus planting basics

Narcissi are among the easiest bulbs to grow, but a few quick tips will get them off to a great start. Pick a sunny or lightly shaded area with freely draining soil. If you have a heavy soil, adding compost helps to improve drainage, so dig in about one spade of compost to every three spades of soil. You’re ready to begin planting your bulbs!

How to plant Narcissus bulbs

— Narcissi are fully hardy and are perfectly happy to be outdoors throughout winter. They should be planted between September and November for best results. If you’re not ready to plant them as soon as you receive them, you can store them in a cool, dry place which is out of reach of squirrels and mice. They will start to deteriorate from December onwards so it is best to get them in by then. They won’t store until the following year.

— Narcissus bulbs can be planted directly outside in borders or patio containers.

— If you have a heavy soil or soil with a high clay content, it is a good idea to incorporate plenty of compost and some grit or sand into the planting area to aid drainage.

— If planting in containers, we recommend using peat-free multipurpose compost.

— Choose a position in full sun or partial/dappled shade.

— Plant the bulbs around 10-15 deep with the pointed side facing upwards. Varieties with large bulbs may need to be planted a little deeper (the hole should be 2-3 times as deep as the bulb is high). Likewise, varieties with smaller bulbs may need to be a little shallower.

— As a general rule, space the bulbs 1-2 times the width of the bulb apart from each other. For large varieties this will be a further spacing, for smaller bulbs they can be closer. Most varieties will perform well with a spacing of around 10cm between bulbs.

— Cover back over with soil/compost. If the soil is very dry, it’s a good idea to water them in after planting to settle them. They will not require any further watering through winter unless you have very mild winters and the soil becomes dry. They will only require water in spring if it is warm and the soil is dry.

— Leave the bulbs planted in the ground throughout the year. The spent flowers can be picked off, but allow the leaves and stem to fully die back or turn yellow before removing it, as this is feeding the bulb for next year.

Plant calendar

  • Planting
  • Flowering

Gracy says: Narcissus

"From classic gold daffodils to sparkling whites and superb bicolours, large cupped, small cupped, split-cupped—which of the many narcissi is fairest of them all? We'll let you be the judge of that!"

Planting instructions