- Author: Karen Norton
There are specific flowers which are traditionally given according to the month that a person is born. The March birth flower is the Jonquil (aka Daffodil or Narcissus). Narcissus is the botanical name for all plants known by the names “daffodil,” “narcissus,” and “jonquil.” They are in the Amaryllidacea family. The scientific name of a flower species is formed by the combination of two terms: the genus name and the species descriptor in the case of the Jonquil is Narcissus jonquilla.
The best part about these early blooming bulbs is how easy they are to grow. Since they are native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries, they grow well in Solano County. The original daffodil is a bright or golden color and has a trumpet-like corona in the center with petals all around it. Often the trumpet is a contrasting color, and with the advent of hybrids the daffodils themselves can now range in color from white, yellow and orange to pinks and light greens.
Here are some simple guidelines for growing:
Exposure and Soil: choose a planting area that will be in full sun while the bulbs are blooming. This includes under deciduous trees that will allow for full sun. Plant the bulbs in well-draining soil.
Planting: after buying solid heavy bulbs, set them pointed end up in the ground, approximately twice as deep as they are tall. For large bulbs it is usually 5-6 inches deep and 3-5 inches deep for smaller bulbs. In our area, plant bulbs in the mid-fall, right before rains begin. It is important after blooming to let the foliage mature and turn yellow naturally. The foliage is manufacturing food for next season. Bulbs do not need watering in the summer. Also, bulbs do not need to be divided yearly. Established clumps only need dividing when flower production or bloom quality declines.
Cut Flowers: blooms are long lasting but should have a vase of their own. Freshly cut stems release a substance that causes other cut flowers to wilt.
Events: the Northern California Daffodil Society (http://www.daffodil.org) hosts several events for us to enjoy: March 10-11, the Annual Flower Power Daffodil Explosion, Point Arena, Mendocino County; and March 17-18, the Mother Lode Daffodil Show, Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys, Ca.