Wild Daffodils for sale

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Planting Narcissus Bulbs

Every spring at the Chicago Botanic Garden, thousands of Narcissus bloom. Come enjoy the spirit of spring, and be inspired to try some new varieties in your own garden.

The Beauty of Spring

The Narcissus genus includes 13 divisions of cultivated daffodils and wild Narcissus that epitomize the perennial beauty of spring. Their multiplying blooms explode on hillsides, meadows, and woodland walks, or form elegant swaths in formal gardens. The thousands of cultivars range from the great giants, growing to 20 inches with strong stems, coronas (trumpets), and perianths (petals) that can withstand spring winds and rain, down to charming 4-inch miniatures perfect for rock gardens or containers. Colors extend well beyond yellow and white to shades approaching apricot, pink, and flaming orange. The flowers themselves include the majestic trumpets as well as the intriguing doubles, frilled cups, flat cups, split coronas, and flared-back forms.

Daffodil bulbs are planted in fall but bloom in spring, as early as March or as late as May, depending on the cultivar. They require excellent drainage in a rich soil. Most prefer full sun but will perform admirably in shadier conditions, especially the pastels. They love spring rain during their active growth, summer drought when they go dormant, and autumnal showers as they develop strong roots.

Planting Daffodils

Plant the bulbs at a depth equal to three to four times the height of the bulb, measuring from the bottom of the planting hole. For backyard gardens, create clusters of five to seven or nine bulbs per group, leaving 3 inches between bulbs. Gardeners with larger spaces can imitate nature by using thousands of bulbs in swelling drifts. Narcissus are perfect in ground cover beds or in perennial borders where emerging plants hide their yellowing foliage. It is crucial that the stems and leaves remain attached to the bulbs until they begin to lose their green color.

In fall, apply a slow-release bulb booster-type fertilizer into the top layer of soil above the planting hole of new bulbs or existing clumps. This helps the bulbs set roots in the fall and produce vigorous growth the following spring.

Narcissus are insect-and disease-resistant and, for those who garden with wildlife watching, they are of no interest to deer, rabbits, and other rodents due to a poisonous alkaloid in the bulb. This chemical is also responsible for the daffodil’s inability to coexist with other cut flowers in a vase.

Kew Species Profiles

General Description The daffodil is the ‘golden’ flower that inspired the poetry of William Wordsworth.

This well-known European flower brings bright swathes of colour to woods and grassland in early spring. Although the daffodil is sometimes known as the Easter lily, it is actually a member of the Amaryllidaceae (the plant family that also includes snowdrops) and hence is not a true lily.

The Latin name for daffodil is thought to have been inspired by Narcissus, who was a figure in Greek mythology said to have fallen in love with his reflection in a pool of water. The nodding head of the daffodil is said to represent Narcissus bending down and gazing at his reflection.

Species Profile Geography and distribution

The daffodil is native to western Europe, and is found in the area bounded by Portugal in the west, Germany in the east, and England and Wales to the north. It is not clear whether the species is truly native to Britain, or was introduced long ago and has become naturalised. It grows at altitudes from sea level to at least 1,500 m and is found growing wild in woods and grassland, and its many cultivars and hybrids are also widely cultivated in parks and gardens in most temperate regions.


Narcissus pseudonarcissus is a bulbous perennial with upright, strap-like, grey-green leaves. The leaves arise from the base of the stem and are up to 35 cm long and 12 mm wide, with rounded tips. A single flower is produced at the tip of the flattened flower-stalk. The flower consists of a dark yellow ‘trumpet’ (corona) surrounded by a ring of 3 sepals and 3 petals (perianth), which are a lighter yellow. The flowers are up to 60 mm long and the ‘trumpet’ and ring of petals are roughly the same length. Flowers are usually produced from March to April. The daffodil is clump-forming, but reproduction is primarily via seed production.

Many species

The World Checklist of Monocotyledons currently recognizes 54 species of Narcissus , and numerous naturally occurring hybrids, but a recent study of daffodil DNA determined there are 36 species of Narcissus , divided into two subgenera ( Hermione and Narcissus ) and 11 sections. This study places N. pseudonarcissus in subgenus Narcissus , section Pseudonarcissi .

Threats and conservation

Narcissus pseudonarcissus is locally abundant in much of its native area and is not considered to be threatened, although four other species of Narcissus ( N. bujei , N. alcaracensis , N. longispathus and N. radinganorum ), all of which are native to Spain, are rated as Endangered by the IUCN.

Daffodils suffered a rapid decline in England and Wales in the mid 19th century, and are now considered rare in some areas, although they are often still abundant in areas where they remain. Daffodil populations are not harmed when flowers are picked, and they are able to grow in a wide variety of habitats, but population decline may have occurred in some areas as a result of the over-collection of bulbs or changes in land use and management.


Narcissus pseudonarcissus has been used to develop a large number of hybrids and cultivars. There are over 30,000 names in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Daffodil Registration Database, around 26,000 of which are considered to be unique cultivar names.

Modern daffodil cultivars are important ornamental crops; more daffodils are planted than any other perennial ornamental plant. Britain is the major grower of daffodils for both flowers and bulbs, which are also grown commercially in the Netherlands, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Wild daffodils were picked in great numbers in Britain in the past, and in the 1930s there was even a ‘Daffodil Special’ train service run by the Great Western Railway to take Londoners to the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire border to admire and buy the flowers.

The national flower of Wales, traditionally worn on St David’s Day (1 March), is a daffodil, although it is thought by some to be the Tenby daffodil ( N. pseudonarcissus subspecies major , also known by the synonym N. obvallaris ), which is native to South Wales, rather than N. pseudonarcissus subspecies pseudonarcissus . The Tenby daffodil has small, uniformly yellow flowers and short stiff stems.

The leaves, stems, seed pods and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids. If eaten they can cause dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and occasionally also convulsions. The toxins are usually most concentrated in the bulbs. Rather surprisingly, daffodil bulbs have been eaten on occasion after being mistaken for onions. The sap can cause dermatitis, and the leaves are poisonous to livestock.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Description of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 5.32 g.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: Four.


Propagation of daffodils at Kew is normally carried out by dividing clumps where drifts of plants have become dense. The bulbs taken out are used to bulk up areas where daffodils are thinly distributed, or to create new plantings.

Daffodils have also been propagated from seed at Kew. The seeds are collected from mature daffodils at Kew during early summer and sown on an open compost mix in pots and kept outside. The pots are then placed in a cold frame during the winter. The seeds germinate in autumn with emergence of seedlings the following spring; however it takes three to five years before daffodils are mature enough to be planted into the Gardens.

Commercially, daffodils are propagated by tissue culture or twin-scaling. In twin-scaling the bulbs are cut into longitudinal segments. These are separated into pairs of scales joined by a portion of basal plate. When planted in compost these develop bulbils on the basal plate and the bulbils can be grown on to form new plants.

When choosing bulbs to buy they should feel heavy and dense. Bulbs should be planted during the autumn, in well-drained soil in a sunny area. They can be planted under deciduous trees that come into leaf late in the year. Daffodil bulbs need to be planted at a depth that is three times deeper than the bulb, with the shoot or point upwards. Deadheading will prolong flowering; however, the leaves should not be cut back until they have faded, as they provide food that is stored in the bulb during the rest of the year. Forcing of bulbs can be carried out to produce early flowers.

The daffodil at Kew

Common daffodils ( Narcissus pseudonarcissus ) can be seen around the Temple of Aeolus during the spring. Tenby daffodils ( N. pseudonarcissus subspecies major , also known by the synonym N. obvallaris) can be seen along the Princess Walk and a variety of Narcissus cultivars can be seen along the Broad Walk and around Elizabeth Gate.Most of the naturalised N. pseudonarcissus growing at Kew are concentrated in the Natural Areas (Conservation Area) and are of unknown origin. The species was not recorded in the George Nicholson survey of 1873; however, Kew’s phenology records show the species was present at Kew in the 1950s.

Dried and alcohol-preserved specimens of N. pseudonarcissus are held in the Herbarium, one of the behind-the-scenes areas of Kew. These specimens are made available to bona fide researchers by appointment. The details, including images, of some of these specimens can be seen in the Herbarium Catalogue.

The Daffodil Walk at Kew

In the autumn of 2000, 70,000 daffodil bulbs were planted on either side of the Broad Walk. Two cultivars of Narcissus , which flower at different times, were mixed to create an impressive display of spring colour. In February and March the hybrid ‘February Gold’ brightens the view followed by N. poeticus (also known as ‘Pheasant Eye’), which fills the air with fragrance in April and May. N. poeticus is native to Eastern Central and South Europe to Ukraine.

40,000 extra ‘February Gold’ bulbs were added in 2001 to create a naturalistic feel to the long drifts. All of this work was funded by the Friends of Kew through its Broad Walk Restoration Appeal and in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

Phenology of the daffodil at Kew

The plants at Kew Gardens and Wakehurst provide valuable information about our climate and so provide an early warning of the effects of climate change. For example, staff at Kew study the changes in plant life cycles over time (called phenology). Each year, scientists monitor and record the flowering dates of a hundred native and exotic plants at Kew Gardens.

Recent signs of change include a shift in the average flowering date of daffodils ( Narcissus pseudonarcissus ) and hawthorn ( Crataegus monogyna ). In the 1980s daffodils commonly flowered around the 12 February, but by 2008 this date had shifted to the 27 January, 16 days earlier.

Distribution France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom Ecology Woodlands, coppices, open meadows and grassy slopes. Conservation Locally abundant and not considered to be threatened. Hazards

The leaves, stems, seed pods and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids.

Wild Daffodil

Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)

The Wild Daffodil, also known in times past as the Lent Lily, is more delicate and unassuming than many hybrids. This is the plant that Wordsworth knew. It’s a relatively short plant, growing to a foot at most, and its flower has pale yellow petals and a deeper yellow corona.

It seems to have been in decline since the 1930s, although why no-one seems sure. Like the Common Bluebell, as a woodland plant they require shade in the summer, and naturalise freely in damp spots. Daffodils don’t seem to be much visited by honey bees when they flower in early spring, but are more usually pollinated by early bumblebees. All parts of the daffodil are poisonous.

Bulbs For Sale

Like all our native bulbs, our wild daffodils are lifted to order at a remote woodland nursery in Wales. Daffodils should be planted at 12 bulbs per square metre, scattered naturally. The bulbs are relatively small and easy to plant, to a depth of twice the size of the bulb. If the ground is dry and hard give it a good water before you start.

We offer packages of 50, 100, 500 and 1000 Narcissus pseudonarcissus bulbs, available from August to October.

Flowers: March

Supplier: Shipton Bulbs

Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.

Narcissus pseudonarcissus



The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.

Common Name: Wild Daffodil

No Image.

General Information

Narcissus pseudonarcissus is a Bulb up to 0.45 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials..

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant are poisonous, the toxins being found mainly in the bulb, but even the flowers are mildly toxic. An extract of the bulb, when applied to open wounds, has caused staggering, numbness of the whole nervous system and paralysis of the heart.

Botanical References

17 , 200


Western Europe, including Britain.


Moist woodlands and grassland.


Medicinal Rating
Habit Bulb
Height 0.45 m
Pollinators Bees
Cultivation Status Wild

Cultivation Details

Prefers a deep rather stiff soil but succeeds in most soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in sun or shade.
Grows well on woodland edges.
The flowers have the sweet woodland perfume of the primrose. This is not very discernible when only a few plants are grown, but is quite noticeable in a group of plants.

Edible Uses

None known


The bulbs, leaves and flowers are astringent and powerfully emetic. The bulb, especially, is narcotic and depresses the nervous system. It has been used in the treatment of hysterical affections and even epilepsy with some effect. The bulb is harvested in the winter and dried for later use.
The flowers are harvested in dry weather when they are fully open and should be dried quickly. They are less powerful than the bulbs but are also considered to be antispasmodic and are useful in relieving the congestive bronchial catarrh of children and also useful in cases of epidemic dysentery.

Other Uses

A yellow to gold dye is obtained from the flowers.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A short stratification will improve the germination of stored seed. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be left undisturbed in the pot for their first two years of growth. Give them an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants become dormant in the summer, pot up the small bulbs placing 2 – 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer.
Division of bulbs after the leaves die down in early summer. Larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions, or can be stored in a cool place and then be planted out in the autumn. It is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on for a year before planting them out when dormant in the autumn.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2020-02-01. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Narcissus+pseudonarcissus>

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