Alpine Garden Society

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Narcissus cyclamineus

Narcissus cyclamineus This is a native of Spain and Portugal, thriving in damp meadows and although it was first described in 1816 it is scarce in the wild  - mostly due to over collection.

Instantly recognisable by it’s bright yellow pendent flowers with sharply reflexed petals Narcissus Cyclamineus is equally at home in the garden or a pot.

My potting mix of 50% multipurpose and 50% sand would seem to be a contradiction to the heavier soils it inhabits in the wild but this mix produces excellent root growth.

When potted in late August/early September the first leaf tips can be seen by late December. One flower per stem is produced among the bright green spreading foliage – each stem reaching around 15cm high. In full flower by early March it is a fine narcissus for the show bench; often lasting for three consecutive shows at the start of the season! 

High potash feeds make for reliable flowering, and it appreciates a dryish  rest throughout the summer. The small bulbs increase well although if seed raised, a 4/5 year wait is required until the first flowering.

Many garden hybrids owe their fine form to Cyclamineus parentage including Tête à Tête, February Gold and Peeping Tom – but for sheer delicate beauty the species cannot be beaten.

Clare Oates