Forcing Paperwhites

Posted by on March 14, 2013

Nothing compares to that feeling of spring. You know it, yet it’s hard to describe. It’s akin to young love–fresh, light-hearted, and bright. You can treat yourself to that feeling and savor spring any time of the year with easy-to-grow paperwhites!

Do you still have paperwhite (Narcissus) bulbs left over from the holidays?  Or have you seen them on sale at the garden center and wondered if it was too late to enjoy inside your home? Nope. It’s not! Plant ’em up. If you see them at the store, why not buy a handful to carry you through the rest of the year?

Check your cupboards to see what cute dish or container you may have on hand. There are several ways to present your paperwhites, from soil to water alone. This versatile member of the daffodil family will make indoor gardening a breeze.

Fill a shallow dish or bowl, three-quarters full, with rinsed gravel or pebbles. Tightly arrange paperwhite bulbs in the dish, root side down, then add more gravel between the bulbs to help anchor them in place.

Gardening with Confidence® paperwhitesAdd water–just enough to cover the lower portion of the bulb without submersing them–and place in a well lit location. The window sill is not only a great place to set your arrangement, it’s also pretty as a picture to see everyday, even when not in bloom. Keep an eye on the water, though. You don’t want your paperwhites to dry out. They need to stay fully hydrated to thrive.

Pot ’em up in a container with potting soil, leaving the necks exposed. Cover the soil with a favorite mulch, like moss or river rock, and let them grow.

One of my favorite ways to grow paperwhites is in a bulb-forcing vase–just drop in and add water.

Paperwhites are one of the easiest bulbs to force because they don’t need a long cold period to bloom. In about 4 – 6 weeks, you’ll be extending spring indoors.


2 responses to “Forcing Paperwhites”

  1. Libby says:

    Have you ever tried mixing vodka with water? I heard about this just recently: when green is about 1″ high, water with the mixture (I use ratio of 7 to1) and yes, the stems and flowers will be very upright! Not quite as tall as otherwise, but they certainly won’t flop over! It’s worked for me 3 times this winter, so I think I’ll stay with it!

  2. HelenYoest says:

    Yes, I have heard of this, Libby, and just did a trial. I’ll be writing about it soon. H.

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