Smaller Narcissus - PBS and Alpine Topic of the Week

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 12 Feb 2004 07:39:33 PST
Dear All,

I really enjoyed reading both introductions for this ten day topic. I 
expected there would be a lot of contributions since I know there are many 
members of this list who grow a lot of Narcissus. It is still early however.

I was interested in reading about Narcissus rupicola in both introductions 
since that was a recent offering to the BX from Ernie O'Byrne. So this 
sentence caught my eye.

>This is not particularly easy to grow in captivity, although, when happy, 
>it can be long lived for a species.

And Nancy suggested growing this in a screen house. Since it is under cover 
of snow, will it be cold enough for me to be able to grow it? Or should I 
be sharing my BX seeds with someone else?

Dave, could you or others tell us your secret of growing Narcissus from 
seed to flowering size?

Nancy told us about the smaller Narcissus species that do well in her 
Northern California garden. Would some of the rest of you tell us what 
kinds of Narcissus you can grow in your different areas of the world? What 
does well for her has done well for me which is not surprising, but I wish 
I had known sooner what to try.

I was surprised recently when the question of what bulbs to grow in 
California's central valley that no one suggested Narcissus. When I lived 
in Stockton they were one of the best performers in my garden, flowering 
well and increasing. I grew hybrids that I ordered from those shiny 
catalogs at that point in my life. As some one mentioned, Daffodil Hill in 
the California foothills always had an amazing display that people would 
drive great distances to see every spring.

In my coastal garden most of the Narcissus I dug and brought with me have 
gone to heaven or where ever they go when they depart. I never knew about 
the Narcissus bulb fly before some of you told us about it so perhaps they 
got eaten instead. I always attributed it to the lack of sun. Speaking of 
the Narcissus bulb fly, I was asked to put information on the wiki about it 
to go with Arnold's pictures so I came up with information posted on this 
list mostly and Dave Karnstedt has improved what I started.…

I've been able to keep going and blooming a number of bulbs in containers 
that Bill Dijk originally sent to the IBS BX and I turned around. The ones 
that have been successful are winter bloomers which is just fine with me 
since they don't have a lot of competition at that time in the garden and 
they bloom a long time and provide a lift between rainy periods. My records 
show Narcissus cantabricus blooming in October, what he called Narcissus 
bulbocodium monophyllus (which Dave tells me might best be called N. 
cantabricus instead since it has white flowers) blooming December and 
January, N. romieuxii blooming in December and January, and N. romieuxii 
var. zaianicus still blooming from a January start so I've had continuous 
bloom in one pot or the other for a long time. I've not tried any of these 
in the ground however.

 >They like my acid, clay soil and summer baking.

I could provide acid sandy soil, but summer baking is questionable. What 
actually does summer baking mean? Obviously the ones I mentioned have done 
fine with being moved to the shade and kept dry in a pot during summer, but 
not certainly not hot.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers

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