Narcissus triandrus 'Thalia'
Pronounced: nar-SIS-us tree-AN-drus
Sunset zones: All.
USDA zones: USDA zones: Daffodils will grow in all USDA zones with the exception of southern Florida or warmer areas.
Height: 14 inches (35 cm).
Stem bears 2-3 fragrant, snow-white flowers, with reflexed perianth and a long open cup.
Long, strap-like, green leaves.
Full sun to partial shade.
Humus rich, moist, well-drained soil.
After flowering, apply a low nitrogen/high potash fertilizer. At planting time, toss bone meal or high potash fertilizer into planting hole.
After the leaves dry up, lift bulbs and separate them to increase supply.
Deadhead spent flowers to prevent seed formation so that the plant's energy goes into the bulb, not seed production. Do not cut foliage off until it dies down. The foliage helps feed the bulb for next year's flowers; it is important that it stay on the plant until it turns brown. Naturalized in grass, the daffodil foliage needs to ripen for at least six weeks after flowering, before mowing.
Pests and Diseases:
In poorly drained soil, bulb rot may occur.
Rainy Side Notes
Narcissus 'Thalia', sometimes referred to as orchid narcissus, is a wonderfully fragrant, pure white daffodil with multiple, pendulous flowers on each stem. This is the oldest known hybrid (1610) derived from Narcissus triandrus, a species originating from southwestern Europe.
Decades ago and in another garden, the first daffodil I planted was 'Thalia'. I remember the bulb produced first-rate cut flowers, with a light, delicate fragrance emanating from the multiple, nodding, snow-white blossoms.
Years passed and I decided to purchase the 'Thalia' bulbs again. When spring came and the flowers opened, I thrust my nose into the trumpets and took a deep breath, anticipating its light scent. Nothing. I sniffed them at various times of the day, over the course of their flowering. Disappointing. Had my memory played tricks on me? Did I imagine the fragrance? Last fall, I bought bulbs for the third time in hopes of growing the fragrant flowers again. When they bloomed in spring, I performed the obligatory olfactory test again, burying my nose into the trumpet. Delightful. Once again, its fragrance tickled my senses.
As with many daffodils, Narcissus 'Thalia' is first-rate for forcing and is also wonderful as a cut flower. Daffodils last four to six days in a vase. Preservatives do not prolong the flowers; this step is not necessary. The blossoms secrete a mucous from their stems that is unfavorable to other cut flowers. Daffodils can be used alone in the vase or hardened for 12-24 hours in fresh water by themselves, with at least one water change. Rinse stems before placing with other cut flowers.
In fall, plant bulbs four to six inches deep and three to six inches apart. The flowers face a southerly direction towards the sun, so you want to plant them where they will be seen with their flower faces towards the viewer.
Daffodils are harmful if eaten and the bulbs can be a skin irritant.
Photographed in author's garden.