How to force paperwhites into bloom

Bring spring indoors

March 15, 2011|By Jasmine Wiggins

I have somewhat of an awkward thumb. (I have good luck for a little while until something disastrous happens). I'm also unlucky in that I don’t have outdoor gardening space at home. With all that said, I've found a project that is both easy and can bring the spring greenery indoors.

Introducing, paperwhite narcissus. If you’re not familiar with paperwhites, they are fragrant white flowers rumored to be the easiest bulb to force indoors. Technically you can force any bulb to grow indoors. Paperwhites are easy because they are low maintenance and don't require chilling time like other bulbs.

How to Plant

• Fill a glass or ceramic container with no drainage holes (jar, vase, etc.) with about two inches of stones or pebbles, rinsed. (Rinsing the rocks will help prevent mold from forming).

• Inspect bulbs to make sure they are not rotting. If they’re good, place paperwhite bulbs snuggly in rocks. You can crowd them in; it’s perfectly fine if they touch each other.

• Fill the container with water just to the top of the pebbles. You don’t want the bulbs to sit in the water or they will rot. The roots will find their way down to the water. Nature is cool like that. Keep them in a cool, dark place.

• In the next couple weeks, you should see green shoots come out of the bulbs. After shoots appear, move the paperwhites into a sunny area. In about four to six weeks you should see blooms.

• As they grow, you may need to stake them using a chopstick or something similar for support so they don’t fall over. Make sure to continue watering as the water falls below the line of the pebbles.

I’ll be posting more photos as my paperwhites come along. What are you growing right now? Send me photos with your first and last name, age, and town/neighborhood to and you might just see it up here on Project Fresh.

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