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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:


Latin Name: Narcissus ssp

Plant Family: Amaryllidoideae

Close Relatives: Other daffodil species

Uses and Markets: Medicinal (pharmaceutical compounds), Ornamental (cut flowers)

Daffodil bulb plantingDaffodil plantings covered with straw for winter protectionEmerging daffodil shootsDaffodil shoots emerging through the straw coveringEmerging daffodil plants, April 17, 2009Flowering daffodils, April 20, 2009Daffodil plants after flowering has ended, June 18, 2009Late season senescence of daffodil vegetative growth, July 9, 2009Harvested daffodil bulbs

Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone

3-6 (depending on variety).

Special Notes

Good snow cover increases winter survival in colder regions.

Propagation method


Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:

Early to mid fall.  Bulbs planted to a depth of 15-20 cm.

Field Transplanting Dates


In-Row Spacing
Large bulbs (12-14 cm) planted at  ~10 bulbs/m2.  Small bulbs (10-12 cm) planted at  ~15 bulbs/m2.

Between row spacing

See in-row spacing.

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from England indicates the maximum amounts of nutrients added (kg/ha) to be 100N, 125P, 250K and 150Mg based on soil fertility. Split dose application (pre-plant and spring top dressing) is beneficial. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained silts and fine sandy loams are optimum (relates to ease of digging).

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Hot water treatment of bulbs is usually necessary to control stem nematode prior to planting.  Bulbs can be left in place for 1 or 2 growing seasons.  Under warm spring and summer conditions it may be beneficial to apply a loose organic mulch (e.g. straw) to conserve moisture and keep soil temperature lower.

Optimal Temperature Range

Prefers a temperate climate with long cool springs.

Temperature sensitivity

Plants go dormant once spring growth has died back.

Irrigation requirements

Moderate irrigation during peak growth (April-May) may be beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

Varies with cultivar, but generally no earlier than 6 weeks after flowering when foliage has completely died back.

Specialized equipment

Mechanical lifters or harvesters.

Harvest Scheduling

Mid-June to mid-July

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest after mechanically lifting the bulbs; machine harvest.

Quality parameters/grades:

No grades established for bulbs grown for pharmaceutical compounds.

Additional Harvest Notes

Extended delays in harvesting may result in higher losses from insects and disease.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Harvested bulbs should be dried using forced air at 25°C.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): Low

Temperature: 17-18°C

Air Exchange: Forced air exchange may be necessary for bulk storage.

Duration: Up to a year under specialized storage conditions.

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates:
Slugs, bulb mites (Rhizoglyphus sp.), thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), caterpillars, aphids

Diseases: Fusarium wilt/basal rot (Fusarium oxysporum), Botrytis blight, fungal basal/bulb rots (Penicillium, Trichoderma, Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia), bulb and stem nematodes  Ditylenchus dipasci), root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus) viruses (Narcissus Latent Virus, Narcissus Yellow Stripe Virus)


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris)

Diseases: Root rots (Armillaria mellea), bacterial streaks and rots (Erwinia, Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas spp.), dry rot (Stromatinia gladioli), bulb rots (Pythium, Phytophthora), smoulder (Sclerotinia spp., Botrytis narcissicola)


*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: nematodes, slugs, bulb mites, Fusarium. This crop is not in a crop group. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Some pest control products may be registered on this crop when it is grown for use as an outdoor ornamental – refer to OMAFRA Publication 370 , Guide to Greenhouse Floriculture Production for more information.  These products may not be applied to this crop when it is grown for non-ornamental uses such as production of pharmaceuticals. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  Weed control may be an issue for this crop as there are few to no registered herbicides.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile

  1. Todd, J., T. Blom, G. Paliyath and A. Sullivan.  2008-2009. Daffodil Bulb Production for Pharmaceutical Compounds on the Norfolk Sand Plains.  Ontario Research & Development funded project.  (unpublished results)
  1. Hanks, G.R. 2002.  Commercial production of Narcissus bulbs.  In Narcissus and Daffodil: The Genus Narcissus, G.R. Hanks (ed).  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL
  2. University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Department.  Pests in Gardens and Landscapes:  Daffodil-Narcissus spp.