Narcissus Jonquilla

Facts about the Narcissus Jonquilla

The true jonquil; the most welcome sight to see in late winter in the southern parts of the United States is that of the narcissus jonquilla.  Commonly confused with daffodils, there are some differences in the plants that act as harbingers of the arrival of spring in some areas of the country and usher in the early summer season in others.

In short, jonquils and daffodils are not the same plant.  However, they are both members of the family narcissus, likely where the confusion enters the picture.  Daffodils are often categorized as the larger, trumpeting blooms in bright yellow, while jonquils feature small cupped flowers.  The genus narcissus, consisting of over 20,000 different hybrids, typically groups all of the hybrids together under classifications that include trumpets, large cupped, small cupped, Cyclamineus, Poeticus, Species and Wild Forms.

Narcissus Jonquilla is also known as the wild jonquil; it grows quite abundantly and naturally throughout the state of Texas as well as other southern states leading to the east coast.  The delicate looking blossoms of the jonquil plant enjoy the acidic nature of the well drained soils of the southern United States, and have created numerous hybrid species merging the jonquil, the daffodil and the wild narcissus.   These hybrids provide a bounty of color and scent from early to late spring as the blooms blanket the areas; proliferating mainly by seed transfer.

Daffodils and jonquils are frequently confused for the other.  One of the signature trademarks that differentiate the true jonquil from the daffodil is the jonquil’s foliage; tube like stems that are dark green in color, reaching up to a foot in height.  Leafless, the plant grows in clumps; featuring several stems per plant.  Each stem proudly exhibits the lovely, brilliant yellow flowers that are the crowning glory.  Up to four of the showy golden blooms can appear on each of the stems.  The flowers can range from being fully without scent to being fragrant.

Jonquils, like their daffodil cousins, are grown from bulbs.  They winter over well when planted in the late fall, with tiny green shoots appearing in the spring as a farewell to winter.  The plants prefer an area that is exposed to either full or partial sun, with average soil that has good drainage.  Like tulips, jonquils do not appreciate having wet feet.  After bloom time has ended, the best results for future years are enjoyed when the plants are left to die back on their own.  Many people feel they need to cut the plants back to ground level after the flowers disappear, but leaving them to wither on their own actually allows the plant to gather needed energy that is then transferred to the bulb, which takes about 4 to 6 weeks following bloom time.

After two or three years, it may be noted that the Narcissus jonquilla is no longer flowering as profusely as it had in the past; this is generally an indication that the bulb should be divided.  To do this, simply dig around the bulb in either late summer or early fall.  Separate the bulb at divisions, and then replant.  The best display of color and effect is realized when jonquils are planted in groupings.  This process should be repeated every few years, or when the plants are blooming at less than optimal performance.

Springtime flowers are always a welcome sight for gardeners and onlookers alike; the first signs of rebirth and color after a long, bleak winter.  Narcissus jonquillas are some of the favorites of this group of blooming perennials; their bright, golden colors reflecting the vision of sunlight and happiness in the garden.