Using Narcissus

Narcissus of all types can be massed in lawns or beds, arrayed along borders, or grouped in rock gardens, in front of shrubs or in perennial beds. "Naturalize" them by scattering the bulbs informally over the planting area, then plant them where they fall. Plant them among evergreen groundcovers such as pachysandra or with later-blooming flowers that will obscure their dying foliage. The miniature or dwarf types are particularly well-suited to rock gardens.

Cutting Narcissus
Cut new, barely opened flowers for indoor display in the early morning, with a clean, sharp knife. Plunge them into a pail of warm water for several hours or overnight. Add a commercial floral preservative or an equal proportion of a citrus based (non-diet) soft drink to the water in the vase to prolong freshness. The flowers will last 4 to 6 days. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies

Forcing Narcissus To Bloom
Narcissus can be "forced" to bloom indoors well ahead of their outdoor timetable. In the fall choose shallow clay pots or other broad containers that won't topple over easily. Put 1 inch of broken crocking or pebbles mixed with a little peat moss (for drainage and water absorption) in the bottom. Add a 1-inch layer of a commercial potting soil mix then place as many narcissus bulbs as the pot can comfortably hold permitting their sides to touch. Point the bulb tips upward. Cover the bulbs with good soil up to 1/2 inch above the tips. Then place the pots for 10 to 13 weeks in the garage or basement, wherever it's dark and the temperature is 40<198>F, so their roots can develop. Keep the soil moist. If storage space is limited, set the pots outside in a cold frame, or sink them in the ground and keep them covered with mulch to protect them from freezing. After this cold treatment, bring them inside and they'll bloom in 3 to 4 weeks.

Paper White narcissus are popular for forcing in dishes of pebbles in water. They don't require a long cooling period. Fill the bulb pan or other shallow container two-thirds full with pebbles or gravel. Place the bulbs about 1 inch apart on the pebbles and add water until it barely touches the bulb bases. Then fill the bowl within 2 inches of its rim with pebbles or gravel. Set the container in a cool (50°F.) dark area for 2 to 4 weeks for rooting. After the roots appear and the pale shoots are 3 to 4 inches tall, move the pots to a sunny window where the temperature does not exceed 70°F. Be sure the roots are constantly covered with water.

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