Indoor flowering narcissi have a stunning fragrance as well as being irresistibly pretty, which is especially welcome during the dark winter months! Wear gloves when handling and planting daffodils and narcissus bulbs and always unpack bulbs and plant on arrival.
Plant in good compost like John Innes No.2 with the tips out of the soil and then place them in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks to allow the roots to develop. Check that the compost does not dry out, but don’t over water or the bulbs may rot. Once shoots are established, bring them into the light in a cool room - if the temperature is too high they will bolt and become very long.
Indoor narcissi can be grown on pebbles too. Just add water to around 2.5 cm from the top of the pebbles. Place the narcissi so they are almost touching and a few more pebbles to slightly cover around halfway up the bulb. It is important the base of the narcissi do not come into contact with the water to prevent mould and rot.
If they are kept in cool conditions they will last longer in flower, this will also help prevent them from getting long and flopping. It has been said if you ply them with alcohol such as vodka this will also help keep the stems and leaves shorter - use roughly one part alcohol to 6/7 parts water. At least it will keep them merry if not!
Narcissus paperwhite will flower around eight weeks from planting. You can stage the flowering by planting two weeks apart, keeping the spare bulbs in the salad draw in the fridge to hold them back. Once the Paperwhites have flowered, they will not re-flower outdoors they do not tolerate our cold winters and so should be discarded. However, Narcissus Grand Soleil D’Or, Avalanche and Erlicheer can be planted outdoors in a sheltered area, so after flowering, deadhead them and allow the foliage to die back naturally and then plant outside.
All parts of daffodils and narcissus are poisonous and should not be eaten as they contain compounds which can cause stomach discomfort and nausea. The bulbs can be poisonous to cats and dogs.