Blooming Paperwhites (Narcissus) provide a sweet fragrance and bring a tall, sculptural quality to your holiday décor. They are easy to grow and make a sweet gift. Since they begin to bloom in about 4-6 weeks after planting, you’ll want to plan accordingly for holiday gifting.
What you will need:
Bulbs, a container (at least 3” deep), pebbles or marbles, water and bright light.
- Using a container without drainage, fill part way with pebbles.
- Position bulbs close together, with pointy side up, on pebbles. Add more pebbles until the lower 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulbs are covered, leaving the upper portion visible.
- Fill container with water to the base of the bulbs. Maintain this water level without allowing water to touch the bulbs.
- Place the container in bright light and rotate it every few days.
- Paperwhites usually need some support when full grown.
- Discard bulbs after flowers fade and save pebbles and container for next year.
The flowers will last longest if the plants are placed in bright light such as a west, east, or south-facing exposure.
Once the paperwhites begin flowering, move them to a cooler spot – this will help them last longer. Continued exposure to warm temperatures may cause the blooms to fade more quickly.
Create a stunning mantel by mixing them with poinsettias, amaryllis, cyclamen, and rosemary or ivy topiaries.
Protips: Avoid “the flop” (or make the best of it).
- Add twigs from the yard that act as supports but look intentional (Curly Willow or Shrubby Dogwood stems work great!).
- Grow them in a tall, straight-sided vessel.
varieties to try:
- ‘Wintersun’ has a lighter fragrance, blooms on shorter stems and features a trumpet of gold that emerges from the center. It is also quicker to bloom than most.
- ‘Erlicheer’ stays shorter, is highly fragrant and produces frilly, double creamy flowers with light yellow centers.
- ‘Inbal’ is similar to ‘Ziva’ (the classic) but is mildly scented and stays shorter so it doesn’t flop.