Plant of the month: Cyclamen-flowered daffodil

This lovely little daffodil is one of the earliest flowering and brings a bit of sunshine to the early spring garden even on the dullest of days

Narcissus cyclamineusOriginating from damp meadows in northern Portugal and northwestern Spain, the cyclamen-flowered daffodil (Narcissus cyclamineus AGM) will happily self-seed in areas that do not dry out in summer.

Growing to about 20cm (8in) in height, it is perfect for naturalising in grass, at the front of a border or in an alpine trough. It has rich, green leaves and bright yellow flowers with narrow, reflexed perianth segments (similar to cyclamen – hence its name) and slender trumpets. It is a parent of the Cyclamineus Group of hybrid cultivars including ‘February Gold’, February Silver’, ‘Peeping Tom’, ‘Jack Snipe’, ‘Little Witch’ and 'Tête à Tête'. It's worth noting that the hybrids are very much more affordable, so you can get satisfying results a little quicker than waiting for self-sown drifts.

Most of these hybrids are larger than the species and the petals do not have the fully reflexed appearance of the parent. At Rosemoor, they provide a fabulous display throughout the garden in pots and in the borders particularly in the Winter Garden, Cottage Garden, Stream Garden Field and Long Border.

Narcissus cyclamineusWe love to use this species in association with other spring-flowering bulbs in the shade of our larger trees, in particular the oak trees in the Lake Field, Stream Garden Field and Fruit Field.

For example, the oak tree next to the lake at Rosemoor is surrounded by a colourful combination of snowdrops, crocuses, Narcissus and Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite). In Lady Anne’s Garden, the tulip trees next to the house play host to N. cyclamineus, snowdrops, crocuses and Cyclamen coum .

N. cyclamineus bulbs can be a little pricey but they will self-seed, and if you’re patient, drifts will grow in years to come. We help ours along a bit by collecting the seed and raising plug plants in our nursery to plant out in the autumn. Bulbs can also be propagated by removing offsets as they fade in early summer. And remember, as with all narcissi, allow the foliage to die back naturally before removing.

 


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