March Birth Flowers: Behind Cheerful Daffodil and Jonquil

Published April 13, 2021
jonquil blooms

A March birth flower can make a wonderful cut-flower for your garden. You may discover a potted daffodil or jonquil makes a great March birthday gift. You may prefer to select just one of the flowers for your garden or as a potted plant. The daffodil (narcissus) is a perennial that grows from a bulb. The jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla) is a species of the genus Narcissus and also grows from a bulb. The two flowers look very similar and are grown the same way.

The Primary March Birth Flower Is Daffodil

Daffodils are trumpet-shaped and feature six petals. They make a great cut-flower. These showy flowers come in yellow or white. Some cultivars are white and yellow combinations. You may prefer orange, pink, or purple daffodils, or you might fall in love with the beautiful double bloom cultivar.

Daffodils in spring

Daffodils Are Grown From Bulbs

Daffodils are perennials that are grown from bulbs and should be planted in the fall. Depending on your Hardiness Zone, the daffodils will bloom either in late winter or early spring. You can plant them as garden borders, beds, planters, and woodland/forest settings. You can always add a small amount of bulb fertilizer to enhance flowering. Some cultivars will bloom for six weeks, while others will continue to bloom up to six months.

Sun and Water Requirements

Daffodils will grow in full sun to partial shade. If you must plant in partial shade, make sure your flowers receive at least six hours of direct sunlight. Daffodils don't usually require a lot of water, but they don't like dry soil, so keep the soil moist to encourage lots of blooms.


The flowers will produce daughter bulbs that are exact clones. However, daffodils can also propagate from seeds.

Soil Requirements

A moderate soil is the best medium for your bulbs, although some cultivars thrive better in acidic soil. Check with the grower before planting and modify your soil accordingly. You want a soil that drains well, since daffodils don't have wet feet.

Pest and Disease Threats to Daffodils

Daffodils are rodent and deer resistant since these animal pests abhor the way the bulbs taste. Insect pests that you may end up combating include bulb bugs, such as bulb flies and bulb scale mites. Daffodils can contract plant viruses and various fungi infections.

Daffodils Are Toxic to Pets

Keep children and pets away from daffodils (and jonquils). All parts of the plants are toxic to children and pets.

Giving Daffodils as Gifts

It's best to soak daffodils in a vase for a few hours before adding to other flower arrangements, since the cut stems leak a chemical that is deadly to other flowers. For a quicker cut-flower bouquet, you may decide to create an all daffodil bouquet.

Symbolism and Color Meanings

Daffodils have a long-held meaning of new beginnings and renewal. Since these are usually one of the first spring flowers to emerge, daffodils are seen as signs of hope and rebirth. They represent the continuation of nature's cycle. Like other flowers, daffodil colors have specific meanings. You can use these meanings to help you select the colors you wish to plant or include in a floral arrangement. You can give a potted daffodil bulb as a March birth flower.

  • Orange - joy
  • Pink - new friendship or love
  • Purple - vanity, selfishness
  • White - purity
  • Yellow - happiness, success

Daffodil Mythology

Narcissus, the son of a nymph and river god, was famous for his stunning good looks and said to be a beauty. However, he brought the wrath of the gods on him when he rejected the nymph Echo. The gods made him fall in love with his own reflection in the river. There are several versions of his fate. One states that Narcissus pined away for his reflection until he died. Another version states his angst over his longing for himself ended with him committing suicide. The flower that grew out of the ground where he died bears his name, narcissus, more commonly known as daffodil.

Jonquil Is the Secondary March Flower

The jonquil is a Narcissus and technically a daffodil and is therefore grown like daffodils. There are some significant differences between jonquils and common daffodils, however, which merited jonquil receiving its own division. There are 14 divisions of identification for daffodils. The jonquil is in Division 7.

White jonquil flowers

Differences Between Daffodils and Jonquils

Both daffodils and jonquils are Narcissus, and jonquils are a specific type of daffodil (Narcissus jonquilla). Therefore, there are differences between various other types of daffodils and jonquils. These differences are mostly in their appearances. Jonquils are smaller and shorter than common daffodils. The jonquil leaves are usually round and the stems are similar to a reed.

Number of Blooms Per Stalk

Perhaps the biggest difference between daffodils and jonquils are the number of blossoms per stalk. Daffodils typically have just one large blossom at the end of the stalk. Jonquils have several small ones. Some jonquils can have as many as eight flowers per stalk.

Climate Preference of Jonquils

Another difference between daffodils and jonquils is the favored climate. Jonquils prefer the climate of the Southern region of the United States and can tolerate very hot environments unlike daffodils.

Jonquils Have a Strong Perfume

Daffodils don't have much of a scent/aroma. However, jonquils have a rather strong pleasant perfume.

Subtle Differences in March Birth Flower Choices

The differences in the two flowers for a March birth flower are subtle when you compare daffodils and jonquils. Since both flowers are Narcissus genus, you may enjoy the differences when you plant both in your cut-flower garden.

March Birth Flowers: Behind Cheerful Daffodil and Jonquil