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Fungal Leaf Diseases
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Plant of the Month: Daffodil Narcissus
According to classical mythology, a young lad - Narcissus, was so enamored with himself that he stared at his reflection in a pool of water until he eventually turned into his namesake flower. And, this is how Narcissus flowers got their name. Narcissus (commonly called daffodil) is the name of a genus which includes flower bulbs like Daffodils, Jonquils, Paper whites and so forth. Narcissi (plural form of Narcissus) are easily grown from bulbs. The word Narcissus is derived from the Greek word narke, meaning numbness or stupor. Some attribute the naming of the flower to its narcotic fragrance while others debate that it is associated with the poisonous nature of the Narcissus bulbs.
Narcissus flowers are usually white or yellow and are characterized by a narrow, tubular base (hypanthium), three petals and three petal-like sepals (the perianth), and a central cup-like appendage (the corona, cup, or crown) that may be of contrasting color.
The genus Narcissus encompasses dozens of species, hybrids, varieties and forms. Jonquils, Daffodils, Paper whites are the most popular varieties of Narcissus-
Jonquils - They have dark green, round, rush-like leaves and clusters of small, fragrant, early, yellow blossoms.
Daffodils - Without a doubt, modern large flowered daffodils are the most popular type of Narcissus planted today.
Paper whites - They are the early blooming Narcissus variety with white, powerfully fragrant, clustered flowers.
Bulbs are the main source of propagation for growing all the species of Narcissus.
Narcissus bulbs are very easy to grow. Narcissus requires little maintenance. Still, if you could take some minimum care, Narcissus can be more vigorous and floriferous, and they'll multiply much more quickly, improving the show they provide each year.
Soil & Site Selection - Narcissus grows almost anywhere, although it does prefer well-drained soils with a sunny or light shade environment. The Narcissus species types are more specific in their requirements.
Planting Bulbs - Narcissus should be planted from August to November, the earlier the better, at a depth three times the height of the bulb in beds, borders and large containers. In lawns, Narcissus is best planted slightly deeper, at a depth of 15cm.
Planting Associations - Narcissus looks good planted in borders or in naturalized drifts at the base of deciduous trees. Narcissus looks its best when planted in drifts of eight or more bulbs which then appears more natural.
Deadheading - When Narcissus flower-heads have faded, it is best to remove them. Otherwise the plant will divert energy from building up the bulb, which is necessary for next year's display, and put it into seed production.
Post-Flowering Care - After the Narcissus blooms have faded, the remaining leaves can look unsightly as they yellow. It is important to resist the temptation of removing this foliage early. It contains valuable nutrients that will be used for next year's crop of flowers. Leave the leaves for at least six weeks after flowering - longer if possible - before removing them.
Propagation - Divide overcrowded Narcissus clumps in late summer, and plant offsets elsewhere in the garden. The Narcissus species types can be propagated with fresh seed collected during summer and sown in late summer or autumn in pots outdoors.
Narcissus Plant Care
Like most perennials, Narcissus does well with about 1 inch of water per week while it's actively growing and blooming - from March to May
Mulch can be tremendously helpful in conserving moisture in Narcissus plants.
The best thing you can do for your Narcissus bulbs is to provide them rich, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter in it.
Most organic bulb fertilizers can be placed right into the planting hole because they're very gentle and non-burning.
Since Narcissus is a perennial, every 5 to 10 years, divide the clumps of bulbs in early summer.
Once flowers are produced, it is best to keep plants away from direct sunlight and in a cool area. This will prolong the flowering period in a Narcissus.