The Q&A Archives: Floppy narcissus

Question: Why do my narcissus grow fine each spring, but always fall over when they start to flower? Lili Paxson Norwich, VT

Answer: They're either not getting enough light, or it's a fertility problem, says Robin Martin of French's Bulbs, sellers of more than 40 varieties of daffodils and narcissus in Pittsfield, Vermont. Narcissus need at least four hours of direct sun to flower properly. If they get less, the flower stalks stretch for light and can flop over - especially after rain or wind, says Martin. If your site gets three hours or less, you should move the bulbs into a sunnier spot. But if the light is almost sufficient, try correcting the problem with fertilizer before taking the trouble to move them. For soil fertility, I'd recommend a one-time application of one teaspoon per bulb of 5-10-5 this spring just as the bulbs begin coming up, and an annual application of 5-10-10 in fall, says Martin.

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