Narcissus papyraceus, easy to force into bloom indoors

Photo credit: C S Monitor

Lee Reich/AP

Paperwhites’ promise of spring

By Karan Davis Cutler

Pro: They are absurdly easy to grow. Con: Not everyone likes their scent.

Like Chia Pets, paperwhites are ready to go when you buy them: Everything they need to bloom is already in the bulb. All we gardeners have to do is fill a container without drainage holes with a couple of inches of well-rinsed gravel or pebbles, or with potting soil. I’ve had good results using gravel, but some say that growing them in potting soil produces longer-lasting flowers.

Crowd the bulbs together, pointed end up, and anchor them in the planting medium with no more than their bottom half covered. Add enough water to reach the base of the bulbs, and maintain the water at that level. Set the container in direct light, such as a south-facing window, where the temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees F. Once flowers appear, move the plants out of direct sun and, if you can, to a cool location.

Read the full article: C S Monitor


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.