Narcissus for pots

Durable varieties that will make even your smallest spaces shine

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We all like our spirits lifted when feeling low, and a few pots of dainty daffodils in full blossom are guaranteed to do just that. Planted now until well into October they perform with a minimum of fuss or effort. Positioned besides a doorway or on a patio or windowsill they are unsurpassed, bringing a smile at the dawn of another gardening year.

Not all narcissus are ideal for growing in pots, many are either too tall and leafy or the large blooms out of scale. For smaller pots about 6-12in in diameter choose those which are shorter and more compact, with flowers in proportion to their size.

Plant in pots of John Innes No 2 or blends of peat-free and loam-based composts, with additional grit or perlite added for drainage. There is also new bulb compost from Dalefoot made from composted sheep’s wool, which contains enough nutrients to keep bulbs happy for a couple of years.  

Plant the bulbs upright about 10cm (4in) deep, and about the same distance apart and water in. Place in a cool position, keeping compost moist, but not waterlogged. Cover the pots with mesh to prevent mice ravaging bulbs. Once shoot tips have appeared move pots into a brighter position. This may be more difficult in window boxes, so just plant the bulbs where they are to flower.

In mixed winter plantings grow the bulbs in a 10cm (4in) pot, and leave a space by submerging a pot of the same size in the display pot, substituting the blossoming pot when growth is well advanced.

By growing a succession of varieties flowering at different times you can keep replacing pots when the latest variety fades. Keep bulbs growing providing a monthly feed until the foliage fades in June, when they can either be retained in the pots for the next season, with compost refreshed or planted out in the garden.