when will the foliage die?

pansyloverandgrower(Zone 8)March 20, 2011

I have 3 narcissus paperwhite bulbs that were blooming in january. ever since the end, the flowers died, and now there is just leaves. when will they start yellowing? Im just really curious. but i know to leave the foliage until it dies completly before i cut it. im also curious, is narcissus a daffodil? if not, what is it?

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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

Actually daffodils are narcissus.
The foliage will start to die when the bulbs have stored enough "food" to survive their dormant period, when this occurs depends on growing conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Narcissus info.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:12AM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

6 weeks after bloom is usually the rule of thumb for keeping the narcissus foliage on. Hot weather can speed it up, cool wet weather will drag it out. One cool summer I had some that never actually died back, and hung onto the leaves into September... at which point new leaves started to sprout.

I don't know what your plans are, but you should be able to plant them outdoors in your zone and they should be ok.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:11AM
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pansyloverandgrower(Zone 8)

but it has been almost 3 months since bloom and the foliage is still pure green? also, i know about feeding them alchohol, to make them grow a little less tall, but i didnt realize id need it, now the leaves are flopped over, they havnt broken, but i think it looks messy. what would be the best way to support them in the future? also, since they and daffodils are narcissi, would they cross pollinate? i have some orange, yellow, and partly white daffodils. i know not this year, but another year would they?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 6:59PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Don't know a thing about breeding new narcissus cultivars.

But I do know my paperwhite foliage lasts far longer than any of my other narcissus. It seems to grow even more after blooms are done! I usually braid it loosely.

My rule of thumb for spring bulb foliage is 90 days. Except tulips ~~ let those go until foliage is totally dead.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 8:22PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Uh oh, am i that far off on the 6 weeks? I don't grow paperwhites though and things heat up pretty fast here once summer hits. So that may trigger dormancy a bit quicker.

I think the chromosome count on paperwhites is different than some of the other narcissus, and even possibly within the paperwhites. Give it a try though, never hurts to experiment.

Hopefully Sue can chime in with more.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:44PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

kato ~~ I have read you can remove foliage (daff) as soon as it begins to yellow. Which is probably 6 weeks. I'll mark bloom date on Pink Charm (daff) and watch her foliage this year. I do remember anemone and raunuculus foliage goes fast.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:40AM
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gardengal48

If they have been forced - grown in water with stones, etc. - the foliage will last longer than it would if these were planted inground. And forcing paperwhites tends to be the end of the road for the bulbs. They simply just deplete all their nutritional resources being grown in water. If in a suitable zone (and not all zone 8 will qualify) you could transfer these outdoors (planted in the ground) to finish the photosynthesis and foliage ripening process. Don't expect a lot from these bulbs........forced narcissus often take several seasons to recover enough to rebloom. And forcing them in water is even more of a hurdle for them to overcome.

Paperwhite bulbs tend to be very inexpensive. Most folks buy them for their fragrant contribution over the holidays as they require no chilling and force easily and rapidly in water. But once they're finished blooming, they are typically discarded.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Per the site linked below:
Daffodils replenish their bulb for about six weeks after they bloom.The bulbs should be watered for about this long after blooming. The leaves should not be cut off or blocked from sun until they start to lose their green and turn yellow. This signifies the completion of the bulb rebuilding process.)

Do you plan to plant the paperwhites in your garden? If so, they may or may not be hardy in your area, and I would suggest mulching them well in the fall.

also, since they and daffodils are narcissi, would they cross pollinate?
Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils.
Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus.
Accent's fertility is both seed and pollen.
Belcanto's fertility is seed only.
Avalon's fertility is pollen only so it will never make seeds.
That is about all I know, and don't know how chromosome count in involved it the breeding.

If you have numerous different daffodils in your garden, and if the are not deadheaded after blooming, you may see some seed pods from natural crosses. If you know the name of the daffodil that has the seed pod, then that is the 'seed' parent. The pollen parent would be unknown.
I am not sure if a daffodil that is both seed and pollen fertile will self fertilize or not.

also, i know about feeding them alchohol, to make them grow a little less tall, but i didnt realize id need it, now the leaves are flopped over, they havnt broken, but i think it looks messy.
I had not heard about the use of alcohol helping to control the height (thus floppiness), but read about it HERE-Pickling your paperwhites. I'd say it is time to cut the foliage, and plant them out, and hope for the best and be done with the messy looking things. As gardengal said above, it may take several season to recover and bloom.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: ADS Daffodils not blooming

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 8:43AM
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