What is a Peruvian Daffodil?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
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The Peruvian daffodil, or Hymenocallis festalis, is a fragrant plant that does well in either full sunlight or some shade. This South American plant features large white flowers that bloom in the spring, and can be grown successfully either in a garden or in flower pots. This type of perennial bulb does not do well in frost, and its soil must not be either too dry or too moist, so it is not usually considered a particularly low maintenance plant.

It is recommended that the Peruvian daffodil be planted in either spring or fall, as long as the temperature will be above 60°F (about 16°C) for a while. When planting in colder areas prone to frost, it is helpful to start the plant out in pots indoors in a well-lit room. It can then be transplanted to the outdoors once the frost and cold weather are gone. Bulbs that are planted outdoors need to be dug up just before the frost appears, and stored in a dry area until the temperature rises. Storing the bulbs upside down in dry peat moss, and then cutting off any withered leaves, can be helpful in keeping the Peruvian daffodil alive through the winter.

When planting the bulbs, it is considered good to make sure that they are spaced about one foot (0.30 m) apart from each other, under up to five inches (12.7 cm) of soil. The soil should be kept moist, but care should be taken to not water the Peruvian daffodil too much, as excess moisture tends to kill the plant. Both clay and sandy soils are okay for this kind of plant to grow in, though fertilizer should be added to the soil occasionally no matter what type it is. It should be noted that snails tend to enjoy eating the Peruvian daffodil when it is grown outdoors.

This plant's flower is known for being shaped like a trumpet, with two to five flowers to each stem. The leaves are usually up to two feet ( 0.61 m) long, and the plant tends to stay green and glossy whether the flowers are in bloom or not, though of course the fragrance is strongest when the flowers are present. The Peruvian daffodil may be planted next to several others to create a border, or it can be planted on its own. It should be remembered that these garden plants tend to open toward the sunlight, which should help in deciding where to place them.

Discussion Comments


Peruvian daffodils are actually very reliable plants once they get established. The bulbs grow very large and very deep. It can be almost impossible to dig out a well established, older Peruvian daffodil.


@bear78-- It seems to me that some Peruvian daffodils do well and others don't. It probably has to do with how well the bulb holds onto the soil once its planted. And the amount of sunlight is important too.

I had a Peruvian daffodil three years ago which died after six months. It just couldn't hold on. One year ago, I got a new one and this one seems to be doing well. The only difference is that it's planted in part sun, part shade. The one that died was in full sunlight.

I don't know if this has anything to do with why this plant is doing well. But you might want to keep this in mind, especially if you live somewhere where it gets very hot in the summer.


I love Peruvian daffodils and want to grow them. But I've read some experiences by gardeners and it sounds like this is a difficult plant to care for. I'm not a very experienced gardener, so I'm afraid that my Peruvian daffodils will not survive.

Does anyone here grow Peruvian daffodils? Do you think it's a difficult plant to care for? Do you have any advice for me?

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