narcissus tete a tete daffodil

Narcissus Tete-a-Tete

Narcissus Tete-a-Tete is a mighty big name for such a diminutive plant. Commonly called the dwarf daffodil, Tete-a-Tete grows to only 6 inches tall, with each stem holding up to three flowers.

Like all daffodils, Tete-a-Tete is an early spring bloomer, adding color to borders, beds and containers. The cut flowers are long-lasting and bring cheer to the indoors. Best of all, caring for this beauty is a snap

Watering the Narcissus

Watering any bulb can be a delicate balance. You don’t want it to dry out but over-watering it may cause the poor little thing to rot. A general rule of thumb for the dwarf daffodil is to make sure it gets at least an inch of water every week if it hasn’t rained. Keep up this watering schedule until three weeks after the plant stops blooming, then withhold water completely.


Fertilize the Narcissus Tete-a-Tete right when it blooms. A low-nitrogen fertilizer is ideal, so look for an 8-24-24 or 2-6-12 fertilizer. The label will instruct you on how much to use for the size of your daffodil bed.

Then, in fall, right after the plant finishes blooming, fertilize it again with the same fertilizer, at the same rate, but this time add 2 cups of bonemeal per 100 square feet of bed. Scatter the fertilizer and the bonemeal over the soil, around the plants, and use a rake or hand cultivator to scratch them into the surface of the soil. Water deeply after fertilizing.

Pruning, Etc.

Deadhead the little daffodil as often as needed during the blooming season to keep it from going to seed. If this happens, it puts all its energy into producing seed and takes energy from feeding the bulb.

Wait for about 6 to 8 weeks after the Tete-a-Tete finishes flowering to cut the foliage. Even though it may be ratty after blooming, turning yellow and whatnot, it’s still supplying much-needed nutrients to the bulb. So be patient, and wait those 6 to 8 weeks. Then, cut it down to 1 inch in height.

If you want to leave the daffodil bulbs in the ground, just spread a 2-inch layer of dried leaves or straw over the bed in late fall. Remove half the mulch in early spring.

Dig up the bulbs instead of mulching over them if you prefer storing them over the winter. Wash off the soil, cut off the remaining foliage and place each bulb in a mesh bag or the foot of a pair of pantyhose. Hang the bulbs in a well-ventilated dry area.

Thanks to our friend B. Kelly for her work on this piece.