How to Grow Paperwhites
Enjoying the scent and beauty of paperwhites during the winter is one of the simplest ways to bring your garden indoors. Not only do paperwhites smell and look beautiful, but it also adds a growing/living element to your home. For young and old alike, it is fun to watch them grow.
Paperwhites are from the Narcissus family, like daffodils, except paperwhites are not winter hardy so in our climate, they are planted indoors.
Plant your paperwhites to bloom during the Christmas Holidays when families are together and we enjoy entertaining in our homes. Paperwhites also make great gifts. They are simple enough that children could plant them as gifts for grandparents or special teachers. Paperwhites are also a lovely way to brighten January's winter days.
You will need:
- A shallow bowl or pot about 6 inches across. Clear, glass bowls are both beautiful and allow you to enjoy the novelty of seeing the roots grow. Sometimes I grow mine in a vase as the vase can offer support to the paperwhites when they are in bloom.
- Enough pebbles to fill the pot. You can also use other materials to plant your bulbs with such as marbles or glass beads.
- 3-5 paperwhite bulbs (or more if you choose a larger container.)
Plant your paperwhites in pebbles in shallow containers. The bulbs should be deep enough to be anchored down but only cover them by two-thirds. You can plant larger containers with more bulbs and the bulbs look best planted close together. Add water to your container but be sure that the level of the water is below the bottom of the bulbs.
Once your bulbs are planted keep them in a cool room that is dark (50F or 10C is perfect) like a garage or maybe a basement room. You can also place them in a box or cupboard to create darkness, in a cool room for about 2-3 weeks or until the roots are well developed.
Check on them weekly to see if they need more water and to see how quickly they are growing. Bulbs need a good healthy root system to perform well. After this cooling time (or once the roots are developed) bring your bulbs into your living area preferably a sunny but still cool area, close to a window is great. They will grow quickly from this point on and bloom within about 7-14 days.