Holiday Tradition – Forcing Paperwhites

One of my holiday traditions, forcing Paperwhites (Narcissus) bulbs, begins in October so that there will be blooms for Thanksgiving.  It’s best to allow six weeks but I’ve gotten small blooms in four weeks with a bit more sun.  I place my containers in a window nook in the kitchen where there is no direct sun, but plenty of light.  Paperwhites, along with Amaryllis bulbs, are the easiest to force indoors because they don’t require chilling beforehand.

Forcing Paperwhites:

1.  Supplies:  bulbs, glass containers, clean pebbles, fresh water.  Choose undrained, decorative bowls and three or four bulbs.  Pebbles, stones, sand or soil  will work.

2.  Plant the bulbs in a pot with several inches of pebbles below and around to hold the bulbs upright.  (Note:  Depending on time, you can slow start the Paperwhites by putting them in a cooler place for 2-3 weeks and they will grow to a shorter height.)

3.  Keep the roots covered with water.  You need to check and add a bit of water every few days.  Keep the roots moist but do not over water.  Do not cover the bulbs with water.

4.  Wa-La:  fresh, fragrant flowers, just in time for holidays. 



About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative and she works in a variety of materials including pencils, paints, paper, porcelain and fabric. Her current projects involve hand-sewn bookbinding, children's book illustrating, and writing. In 2010, two of her paintings were published in the Saddleback College literary magazine, The Wall. In the past, she has received recognition for painting and doll making. Linda lives in California with her husband and family pet. Her new blog can be found Please visit often to see how the site develops. Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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5 Responses to Holiday Tradition – Forcing Paperwhites

  1. I’ve always wanted to try growing one of these! My mom and grandma had a competition one year to see who could grow the bigger flower. For the life of me I can’t remember who won, but I do remember the beauty of those flowers. 🙂

  2. Marilyn says:

    I love how they smell. To me it’s just as much a smell of Christmas as pine needles. 🙂

    • Hi Marilyn, You've been busy…hope all was successful in San Francisco. I love the smell of Paperwhites too, although they can get potent with several plants growing.I miss the meetings at your house…just haven't been able to make the drive to Anaheim.Happy October and Halloween to you. Linda

  3. Pingback: Holiday – Paperwhites Follow-up | wings of wonder

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