Even for beginners - paperwhites are easy to coax into bloom. There is no reason to purchase pre-forced plants unless time is of the essence. Check your local, independent garden store early for the best selection and largest bulbs.
Paperwhites do not require a chilling period. If you are not ready to pot them up when purchased – store them in a dark, cool place – garage or pantry in paper bags works fine. They can be coaxed out of sleeping by placing in water or soil.
Water vs. Soil
If you want blooms by Thanksgiving, the quickest way is by water forcing in mid-October. Bulbs can also be planted in soil. October is prime time for planting bulbs for later holiday displays as the roots take longer to establish. Successive displays of deliciously, papery white blossoms can decorate tables by potting up bulbs every weekend.
Getting Creative with Containers
Deciding to order bulbs over buying them locally can produce differing results. Larger bulbs are easier to handpick out of a bucket. Check firmness. Ordering bulbs from catalogs are great for smaller containers. Look around cupboards for decorative jars, glass vases or containers with or without drainage holes. Roots need a minimum of six inches for anchoring roots to support 16” – 18” tall foliage.
I like to use coffee filters or netted bags bulbs come in to cover drainage holes. Unlike other bulbs, narcissus bulbs can actually touch one another when planted together. If flowers or foliage droops, loosely tie raffia around the grouping.
Time to Open Presents
Looking for a perfect gift for gardening friends? Ziva paperwhites are perfect little hostess gifts. Tuck a half dozen into a bright cellophane bag or a mini-handled gift bag; add a ribbon and you are done. Enjoy your holidays with friends, family and fragrant blooms during this special season.
BeeDazzled Gardens & Designs Specializes in creating fragrant, organic, low maintenance garden vignettes that add value and pleasure to a home or business exterior and landscape. Our specialty is staged, perennial bed planting designs, seasonal potted containers and garden renovations.
Photo credit on all photos: Dawn Hummel