Narcissus 'Little Gem'
Common Name: trumpet daffodil
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellow petals and yellow trumpet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Good soil drainage is essential. Best in organically rich loams. Soils should be kept uniformly moist during the growing season. Plant bulbs in early to mid fall. Planting depth depends upon bulb size. In St. Louis, each bulb should be planted 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulb, with at least 3” of soil over the top. Space bulbs from 4-10” apart (larger bulbs are planted further apart than smaller ones). Larger spacing may look sparse in early years, but the spaces will fill in over time and division will be needed less. In general, most bulbs will be planted 3-6" deep and 4-8” apart. After the flowers have bloomed in spring, the top portion of each flower stem may be removed, as practicable, to prevent seed formation, but foliage should not be cut back until it begins to yellow. Flowers usually face the sun, so bulbs should be grown with any shade areas at the rear of the planting. Bulbs can be left undisturbed for a number of years. If bloom quality and quantity decline over time, clumps may be divided by digging just after the foliage dies back.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Trumpet daffodil (Division I). By definition, a trumpet daffodil features a trumpet (corona) that is equal to or greater than the length of the petals (perianth segments). One flower per stem. ‘Little Gem’ is a dwarf that only rises 4-5” tall in spring. Each flower (1 3/4” across) features broadly ovate, overlapping, yellow petals and a cylindrical yellow trumpet tinged darker yellow at the rim. Blooms early season (March - April in St. Louis). Narrow, strap-shaped, green leaves in clumps. J. Gerritsen & Son, 1959.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. With proper soil and culture, daffodils are noted for being almost pest-free. Bulb rot may occur in poorly-drained soils. Infrequent insect pests include narcissus bulb fly, narcissus nematode, slugs and snails. Bulb scale mite may occur. Narcissus yellow stripe virus is an infrequent problem.

Garden Uses

Unlike tulips, daffodils keep blooming year after year. They are best sited in beds, borders, wild gardens, open woodland areas, in front of shrubs or massed under trees. They are best planted in quantity, i.e., from smaller groupings of at least 6 bulbs to large sweeping drifts. They mix well with other spring-flowering bulbs. As a dwarf, ‘Little Gem’ is also appropriate for rock gardens or small areas around the home.