Paperwhites require little more than water to produce beautiful and fragrant white blooms. With other bulbs having to be “forced” to bloom indoors, growing paperwhites is a breeze! Paperwhites do not require a chilling period, so keep the bulbs at room temperature until you plant them.
Growing Paperwhites Indoors
The beauty of paperwhites is they are so easy to grow, requiring little setup and minimal maintenance. Simply follow the instructions below for a beautiful and fool-proof decoration for your enjoyment throughout the holiday season!
Find A Container
Paperwhites are really fun to get creative with! The first step is finding your container. This container could be a shallow dish like the one pictured below, it could be a tall and cylindrical vase, or it could be a clear glass bowl of any size. Create a simple, minimalistic centerpiece with some neutral stones in the bottom of a simple vase, or put together a large and showy bowl with as many bulbs as can fit!
Add A Layer of Rocks
Whatever your style, simply fill your container of choice with at least 2-4 inches of small stones, pebbles, or glass marbles. Place your paperwhites on top of your stones, roots down, and nestle them into the stones a bit. If your container allows for it, you can always add additional stones around the bulbs once you have them in place to help reinforce their position when they start to grow. If they aren't secured in their space, they can easily topple over under the weight of their leaves and flowers once they begin to grow.
The last step is to add water! Fill the bottom of your container until the water just barely touches the base of the bulbs. It is important to not bury your bulbs and to not let them become submerged even partially in the water. Bulbs do not like too much moisture, and allowing them to sit in water that is too deep will cause them to rot. Leave the tops of the bulbs exposed, with only the base of the bulbs where the roots grow touching the water.
Pro Watering Tip
Bulbs such as paperwhites and amaryllis tend to grow tall and lanky to the point that their stems cannot even support the weight of their blooms. And while you can try to support the flowers with props and stakes, this can often take away from the visual appeal. Instead, water your paperwhites with a water-alcohol solution! This will stunt the growth of the flower stalk, keeping it shorter and stronger, thereby enabling it to support the weight of the flowers without the aid of any unsightly stakes. It is best to use clear, distilled alcohol such as gin, vodka, or white rum. Rubbing alcohol also works! Simply make a mixture that is one part alcohol to seven parts water (1:7), or one part alcohol to eleven parts water if you are using rubbing alcohol (1:11). You can start using this solution to water your paperwhites once you start to notice some green growing out the tops of the bulbs. Simply drain any old water and fill your dish with the alcohol solution!
When To Expect Blooms
In just a few days, the bulbs will start to root and the green tips will quickly begin to emerge. Keep an eye on the water levels, keeping the roots submerged but the bulbs themselves out of the water, and in about 4-6 weeks you’ll have fragrant clusters of white flowers!
Discard The Bulbs Once the Blooms Have Died Off
Once your paperwhites have finished blooming, you can simply discard the bulbs. Paperwhite bulbs are extremely difficult to get to rebloom in subsequent years, and often won't even if their conditions are perfect. If you want to be able to enjoy their blooms for longer, consider planting your paperwhites in succession so that you’ll have blooms all winter!
Have Questions About Planting Paperwhites?
Paperwhite bulbs are so fun and easy, not to mention beautiful! If you have any questions or want help getting your bulbs going, please let us know! We also have a tutorial video on how to plant amaryllis and paperwhites, so if you would like a demonstration on how to plant yours, check it out!