Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Potting Up Paperwhites

Paperwhites are the most giving of bulbs. Stick them in a pot or container (in either potting mix or pebbles and water) and in 2-3 weeks you have a glorious display of blooms. I like to plant them in stages, to keep the blooms going through the dreary days of winter when the snow seems to get deeper and the distractions of the Holidays become nothing more than memories. They fill that gap between the New Year and the first signs of spring. 

Tonight I began forcing round one.

I found this milk glass container this afternoon and thought I would try it for forcing. I put some river rocks in the bottom, filled water to the top of the rocks, and set in the bulbs.
This thumb print vase (from the defunct Martha's Flowers that I discovered at Saint Vincent's several months ago) was another contender.

Two bulbs snug in the bottom of the vase. Paperwhites are native to the Mediterranean, and are not hardy in our Zone 5b Hardiness Zone. You could perhaps grow them as houseplants, but you would just be looking at a pot of dirt for the majority of the year. They ARE narcissus after all, and just like the narcissus around here, they spend much of their time dormant beneath the dirt.
These two big hurricanes looked great last year, so I decided to use them again.
The water is juuuuuuust touching the bottom of the bulb. Once the roots begin to grow, I don't even let the water touch the bulbs so there is no fear of rotting.
A new tip I read about is giving the bulbs a little shot. Of alcohol. You can read more about that here. And then run out and get yourself some paperwhites! They may be a tad stinky, but their cheerfulness make up for their scent (and they really only smell when you get right up to them).


  1. I love paperwhites. Your photos are delicious! I can almost smell them!

  2. I can't wait! They always lift my spirits!