A good time to grow YAK'S CORNER

Just For Kids

November 30, 1998|By Marty Hair

Fall is a good time to plant bulbs outdoors, but did you know you can plant them indoors too? You can grow your own flower blooms to brighten dark winter days. Among the easiest flowers to grow are paperwhites, a kind of daffodil or narcissus.

These tender bulbs are native to warmer regions of the world. They're sold at garden centers and flower shops, and they're all ready to start growing.

You'll usually see their clusters of white or yellow flowers forming and beginning to open in three to six weeks. In a cool room, the flowers stay pretty for five to seven days.

There are two good ways to grow paperwhites. One is in a soil mix, which is available at garden centers. You'll need a 6-inch pot with a drainage hole. Fill the pot about halfway with the soil mix. Place four or five bulbs, pointed end up, on the soil. They should be close together but not touching. Add more soil and press it down gently around the bulbs. The top two-thirds of each bulb should still show. Put the pot on a dish or inside a plastic margarine container. Water it and add more soil if needed to get it back to the right level.

Another way to grow paperwhites is in water in a wide glass dish. The clear glass lets you watch the roots grow. Start by filling the container with about 3 inches of pebbles, marbles, sand or gravel. Put the paperwhite bulbs on top. Put more of the pebbles or stones around each bulb to hold it up, but keep the top two-thirds of each bulb exposed. Then add water so it just barely touches the base of the bulbs. You'll soon see the bulbs' roots begin to grow.

For the first week, you can keep the pots with the bulbs in a dark room at 50 to 60 degrees. Check the water often; don't let the bulbs dry out. Then move the bulbs to a sunny, cool room.

The best spot for paperwhites is a room where the temperature is about 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler air encourages the paperwhites to grow shorter leaves and flowering stalks. That way, they don't get so floppy. The flowers also stay in bloom longer in a cool room.

Pub Date: 11/30/98

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