All About Jonquil – History, Meaning, Facts, Care & More

First and foremost, we need to distinguish jonquils from daffodils, narcissus, and buttercups. Are they different names for a single plant or what are their differences? Let’s get right into it.

Jonquils are often interchanged with other terms such as daffodils, buttercups, and narcissus. But there are differences as well and interchanging the term may sometimes be incorrect.

The term Narcissus refers to the genus of bulbs with tens of thousands of cultivars and hundreds of species. Narcissus genus includes jonquils as well as daffodils. However, Narcissus is often used in reference to the miniature white holiday blooms of paperwhites or the Narcissus tazetta.

Daffodil is the common name for plants in the genus Narcissus. Generally, if the plant is a Narcissus, it is considered as a daffodil too. However, Daffodils are often used in reference to the large, trumpet-shaped Narcissus pseudonarcissus that bloom in spring.

Jonquil is a specific type of Daffodil or member of the Narcissus genus known as Narcissus Jonquilla. They are identified by having dark green, tube-shaped leaves and clusters of flowers. Narcissus pseudonarcissus, commonly called Daffodils, on the other hand, have a single big and showy bloom and flat leaves.

Buttercup is an incorrect reference to Jonquils, Daffodils, or Narcissus of any kind. Buttercups don’t belong to the same genus. Its scientific term in Ranunculus sp and consists of an herbaceous perennial with small yellow or white flowers and five separate petals. Meanwhile, buttercups also bloom in spring and summer-like Daffodils and most Narcissus species.


Short History of Jonquil Flowers

Narcissus Jonquilla is a bulbous herb of the amaryllis family. It is native to Spain, Portugal, and the greater Mediterranean region but can also be found in continents throughout the world with similar climates. It has since been naturalized in the Southern regions of the United States.

Jonquils are often grown for their beauty and scent. They can be grown surrounding large trees, in flower beds, and yards as well as along driveways, walkways, and sidewalks. Jonquil flowers have also long been used as a fragrance in perfumes and oils.

There is also a Greek legend concerning Jonquils. As the mythology goes, Pluto, the god of the underworld kidnapped Proserpina, the goddess of the underworld while she was gathering lilies. Shocked and afraid, she dropped the lilies which quickly turned into Jonquils.


Characteristics of Jonquil Flowers

Every jonquil has about five or six flowers growing out of its bulb root. Jonquils are spring flowers and are among the first to bloom after winter. They have beautiful green leaves that are long and slender. Every single jonquil has a trumpet. Trumpet is the term for the central bowl-like formation in the center of the flower. Inside the trumpet you will find little black, hard seeds. The flower consists of six petals. Jonquils come in several colors and each one is gorgeous. You may want to choose your color scheme and buy the colors that will complement the rest of your flowers best. Jonquils are popular all over Europe, Asia and in some parts of Africa as well, where they grow wild. However, the cultivated jonquil we know has been developed in the United States.


Meaning of Jonquil Flowers

Commonly made known to our florist in Singapore, Narcissus Jonquilla is named after the Spanish word ‘Jonquillo’ in reference to its rush-shaped leaves. Jonquil flowers look lovely in a bouquet and convey the message of desire for someone or for someone to return your affection. Jonquil flowers can be a way of saying the feelings are mutual.

Jonquil flowers also express sorrow and sympathy and can be given to show love and support to someone who experienced a traumatic event or is going through difficult times. Ancient Greeks also consider Jonquils to be the flower of death, believed to grow in the underworld.

In China, the Jonquil flower is symbolic of good luck during the New Year. Its bulbs are often carved with a scalpel into different shapes during this event.  As the birth flower of March celebrants, Jonquils are symbolic of friendship and domestic bliss.


Facts about Jonquil Flowers

  • Jonquil is the March birth flower.
  • It signals the arrival of spring.
  • It has a twofold meaning which could either mean desire or friendship.
  • There is also a superstitious belief that if you point to a Jonquil flower, it will not bloom.


Growing and Caring for Jonquil Flowers

Jonquils look great in a garden as well as leading up to your front door and along your sidewalk. As such, gardeners often include Jonquil flowers in their landscaping. They are best planted in late spring or fall. Jonquils grow without much help for as long as you plant the bulbs in the best soil, thoroughly distributed, and water it regularly.

If you want to grow Jonquils, make sure to enrich the soil with bulb fertilizer first. Dig 4 to 6 inches deep of well-drained, slightly acidic soil and plant your Jonquil bulbs. Be sure to cover the bulb with 3 to 4 times deeper than its height. Once in the hole, its point ends should be facing upwards. The bulbs should be placed 4 to 6 inches apart to encourage growth. When leaves appear, you can fertilize with an NPK ratio of 10 equal parts.

Be sure to water the plant thoroughly especially during the growing season and dry spells. After the blooming season, you can reduce the frequency of watering the plants. Compost should be added annually to nourish the soil. The foliage should be allowed to die naturally.

Jonquils thrive in full sun and need daily sun exposure of at least 6 hours. It grows in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 to 9. Jonquils are prone to Narcissus bulb flies and bulb scale mite. They propagate best by the division of the bulbs.

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