Gardenia Narcissus

Heirloom Small-cupped
Double Poet's Daffodil; or, Old Double White Poeticus;
or, Gardenia Narcissus

"O fateful flower beside the rill —
The Daffodil, the daffodil!"

- Jean Ingelow,


Narcissus poeticus plenus is also known as N. p. alba plenus odoratus, meaning White-Double-Fragrant poet's daffodil.

The species is native of Southern Europe. The double variety is of unknown origin, but has been gardened in England since no later than 1601 when it was described by Clusius.

It is sometimes an eratic bloomer. It can be grown in zones three through eight, but is fragile below zone 5. Despite its occasional unreliability, it is nevertheless so desirable when it does well that more predictable modern cultivars have never displaced it, & probably never will displace it from gardeners' sentiments. And how could it be otherwise. Of all the daffodils we have scattered amidst our gardens, this is in my estimation among the most beautiful.

Care must be taken to put them in a perfect spot to increase the probability of success. They want sun &, for spring, moist well-draining soil. It grows sixteen to eighteen inches tall. The flowers are snowy white & large-petalled, with a small double pheasant-eye (or small cup), which makes for a stunningly fluffy double-gardenia type center.

Because it is so fragrant, we planted five bulbs at the foot of the front stoop where we could appreciate the odor as we come & go from the house. They are in front of a 'Hino Crimson' azalea. But a year later in autumn, while digging up some other bulbs in the same vicinity, the Poet's Doubles had to be lifted at the same time in order to sort them out. In that single year one bulb had doubled so I separated that in to two bulbs; & one other was nearly entirely rotted, so the total was still five bulbs. Fearing the others might also rot in that location as winter progressed, I replanted them eight inches deep near the 'Goldberg' variegated lavendula, in soil that drains more rapidly.


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