Name: jonquils, rush daffodil, Narcissus jonquilla, tazetta daffodils, cluster daffodils, Narcissus tazetta.
Height: 15 to 45cm tall.
Foliage: long, narrow and tubular upright grey-green leaves arising from an underground bulb.
Climate: best in warm to cool temperate zones; avoid tropical areas.
Soil: will grow in most well-drained soils; enrich with compost.
Position: full sun or partial shade.
Flowering: multi-flowered with usually one to five single or double flowers per stem (N. jonquilla) or up to 20 per stem (N. tazetta). Fragrant flowers with the cups shorter than the petals.
Feeding: use a controlled release organic fertiliser specifically for flowering plants when planting in autumn and again in early spring after flowering with additional sulphate of potash.
Watering: water at planting time and then only after the foliage emerges. Water weekly during the growth and flowering period.
Jonquils are perennials that arise from an underground bulb and produce a cluster of fragrant flowers on each individual stem in midwinter to early spring. The usual flower colours of the wild species include yellow (N. jonquilla) and white with a yellow cup (N. tazetta). The true jonquils are bred from Narcissus jonquilla and include the varieties ‘Intrigue’, ‘Bell Song’ and ‘Waterperry’. Many of the ‘jonquils’ or tazetta daffodils seen in gardens such as ‘Erlicheer’, ‘Paper White’, ‘Geranium’ and 'Soleil d’Or’ are developed from the wild Narcissus tazetta.
Jonquils are part of the Amaryllis family and are commonly found in Spain, Portugal and throughout the Mediterranean region where they have become naturalised in many places. This acclimatisation to warm Mediterranean climates makes jonquils a better choice for growing in warmer temperate areas, where daffodils don’t traditionally flower dependably.
Jonquils prefer full winter sun or partial shade to flower well. Planting beneath a deciduous tree can be ideal as it lets through the full sun in winter and dappled light in the spring and summer months. You can plant jonquils in mixed borders with roses and deciduous shrubs or in containers where they make a spectacular display. They are often used as cut flowers although some people may find the scent of several cultivars a little overpowering when used indoors.
Jonquils require a well-drained soil with the addition of aged or composted organic matter, although most garden soils are suitable. They prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5.
Always use a premium potting mix in pots and containers and keep them well watered in spring and early summer.
Apply a controlled release organic fertiliser specifically for flowering plants underneath the bulbs when planting them in autumn. After flowering in spring, apply another top dressing of controlled release fertiliser and apply additional sulphate of potash for any bulbs that have not flowered. Avoid high nitrogen fertilisers.
Jonquils can be left undisturbed in the ground but perform best if the clumps are divided after three or four years. Jonquils grown in pots are heavy feeders so they are best planted in the garden the following year. Alternatively, repot them each year and use a high potash liquid plant food.
Jonquils are usually trouble-free with occasional damage from snails and slugs. Use iron chelate based snail pellets around the clumps from winter to early summer. Stored bulbs can rot if the temperature is too high, or alternatively if high nitrogen fertilisers have been used extensively. Destroy bulbs with rot immediately and do not replant bulbs in that same spot in the garden for five years.
Leaf scorch can affect bulbs in warm, humid environments causing red brown scorched leaf tips and spotting that may spread down the leaf. Remove affected leaves immediately and spray with of a copper-based fungicide to reduce the spread. Remove and destroy any severely affected plants.
Tulips: spring flowering bulbs with large showy, bright and colourful goblet-shaped flowers on long stems.
Daffodils: golden yellow and white trumpet-shaped flowers in spring, and newer peach and orange coloured varieties, including doubles and miniatures.
Pansies (Viola): brightly coloured perennials with dark blotches on the flowers; usually grown as annuals, and flowering from late winter through to spring, and sometimes summer in cooler climates.
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