I talked on Monday about forcing smaller bulbs like crocus and snowdrops, and hyacinths.
Today I am going to talk about narcissus. If you think about winter bulb forcing, you most often think about these, paperwhite narcissus, and more specificaly this variety, which is called ‘Ziva.’
You either love these or hate these. They have a distinct and strong odor. Just search the internet for “paperwhite narcissus smell” and you’ll find all kinds of unpleasant descriptions like “pee pee,” “urine,” and “smelly socks.” Why on earth would anyone want to grow a flower like that?!
In fact, read the small print on this package. It says “uniquely fragrant flowers.” Don’t say they didn’t try to warn you!
Maybe it’s my ice cold house, but I don’t find that the paperwhites smell bad (and I do have a sensitive nose). However, I have had visitors come over and wrinkle their noses in disgust, so perhaps I just don’t object to that particular scent the way others do.
This year, in addition to the traditional white bulb for forcing, I am trying a different variety that I have heard is both lovely and fragrant (in a “good” way). If nothing else, this bulb is pale yellow and double so it will be a very pretty change–a little ray of sunshine. I have already started some of these in soil because I understand they need some chilling time. The rest are chilling in my cool potting room.
I will post the results when they bloom. Until then, stay tuned!
Seriously, I have never met a narcissus that did not smell VERY good. If some cultivars smell badly,, I would not want to waste garden space on them.
As I said, I don’t object in any way to the smell, so that’s why I force them. Winter is long here, Tony. We just had our first snow–& it was 8 inches, not some cute little dusting! Winter is a long, cold 6 months, and then spring is “mud season.” So I will take anything and everything!
My favorite fragrant “outdoor” narissus is ‘Thalia’ I think, but I am sure that I just don’t know of far too many others!