Whilst Hyacinths are undoubtedly the number one choice for growing bulbs indoors, there ahs been a move towards Daffodils - Narcissus - for this purpose as well.
For many, the introduction to growing Daffodils indoors will be as a result of trying to coax the kid's school daffodil bulb to perfection - for the due date of the school daffodil competition!
This often means a trip to the local garden centre to see what they have in stock, after our own and the kid's efforts have ended up in tear over the solitary daffodil that looks more like a leek, and flowered long before the 'proper' time.
As a result, we see kids wandering to school with perfect daffodils (from the garden centre) but often being a different variety to that which the school supplied. No matter. Everyone does it!
The unfortunate effect of this annual pilgrimage, is the fact that we tend to think that growing daffodils indoors is strictly for the professionals. Not so. Here is how to do it.
Daffodils for Flowering Indoors. Early Daffodils for Christmas.
Choice of variety is important if you want the earliest possible flowering of your indoor Narcissus. Some varieties flower much earlier than others - regardless of the way you treat them. Two favourites for growing and flowering at or near Christmas, are Narcissus Paper White and Narcissus 'Téte á Téte'. Both are naturally early flowering.
Narcissus Paper White, is one of the earliest flowering Daffodils, and is often to be found in garden centres during late autumn - with a promise for Christmas flowering. So it will, but only if planted in time. This particular variety will normally flower about eight weeks after planting in bowls or containers for indoor flowering. Follow the general directions for growing bulbs indoors here, and remember to make a note of when they were planted.
Grow cold - not freezing for around six or eight weeks and bring indoors after that period. So for forcing narcissus Paper white into bloom for Christmas, you will need to start the process in middle of October. Plant the several pots of the bulbs at weekly intervals to get a good succession of flower all over the Christmas period, and then into early spring.
Narcissus Téte á Téte, is difficult to flower for Christmas - though can often be bought ready forced at the garden centres during the run up to Christmas. If you buy the bulbs early enough, then store them in the bottom of the fridge for the first month. Basically cheat them into believing that winter has happened, and they will break their dormancy.
Most other daffodils are best forced for early Spring indoors. You should be able to get them into flower for late February early March quite easily by following our general hints on forcing bulbs indoors.
Some Good varieties of Narcissus for forcing for indoor flowering are...
Do not be tempted to try the large double flashy daffs for this operation. They will invariably be top heavy and need cane support.
Iris ensata 'Sansation'
Leucojum vernum - the Snowpake