How To: Grow Paperwhites

How To: Grow Paperwhites

Laure Joliet
Nov 26, 2008

Paperwhites have long been a staple of our winters adding a bit of life and brightness in the darkest time of the year. Given as gifts, or planted for ourselves, paperwhites or narcissus have a soft fragrance, are impossibly delicate and very easy to grow. And since they take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to blossom once planted, now is the time to start them. Jump below for potting directions:

To grow paperwhites or narcissus, we'd recommend using between 3 and 5 bulbs in a small waterproof containeranywhere between 3 and 5 inches deep. (Alternatively, to give as gifts, you can grow individual bulbs that will be about a week away from blooming by christmas.)

Fill up the pot/bowl/container halfway with small pebbles/rocks/marbles and then place your paperwhite bulbs root down on top of the pebbles and start filling in the rest of the pebbles leaving about a third of the bulb exposed at the top.

Fill your container with water just so the very bottoms of the bulbs are wet (not soaked though, if they're in too much water, they'll rot). Now you're good to go and should see some sprouts in about a week.

Monitor the water level and add it when necessary over the next couple of weeks.

Paperwhites will end up growing anywhere from a foot high to over 2 feet and can sometime fall over from their own weight. We read recently that if you use alcohol you can actually stunt their growth to keep them small.

Are you planning on planting some bulbs this winter?

[Image from Karen P]

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