December Birth Flower: Narcissus

19 Dec

Paperwhites for December Birthdays

paperwhite narcissus

Delicate, Fragrant Blooms for a Winter Birthday Treat

December birthdays can be tough, with all that competition from the holidays, but lucky you, December Bloomies, you get a beautiful birth month flower: Narcissus. It’s especially great as a potted plant that you can plant then enjoy year after year.

Narcissuses, or, Narcissi in the plural form, are tiny daffodils with a strong fragrance. There are multiple blooms on each stem, each one about the size of a dime. White and yellow are the only colors you will see these flowers in. Paperwhites, like the ones above, are the most common variety of narcissus you’ll find at this time of year.

It’s an early spring blooming bulb, that lends itself wonderfully to indoor cultivation in a pot. Grow your own garden indoors, or buy a bulb for a friend and give them a little spring, in advance. If you think ahead you can “force” these bulbs for winter by planting them indoors about 6-8 weeks in before you want to see blooms. It takes a bit of care to get them flowering just on time (and standing up straight) but you can read how here. You can also find potted, flowering narcissus in December at many florists and nurseries.

Narcissus Background and Meaning

The name of the flower is often attributed to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own beautiful reflection and drowned in a lake. Supposedly Narcissus flowers grew where he had sat on the shore. It also could come from the Greek word Narcao (where Narcotic comes from), meaning “I grow numb”. In German, the Daffodil is known as Osterglocke, meaning Easter Bell. It is a symbol of vanity in the West, and of wealth and good fortune in the East. It’s also the symbol of unrequited love and the Kurdish New Year, Newroz.

Don’t worry too much about the various meanings though- there’s nothing quite as refreshing as live, flowering plants in the middle of winter, so surprise your December born loved ones with narcissus this year.

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