When winter’s chill forces the gardener indoors, I get visions of fragrant clusters of paperwhites dancing in my head! Paperwhites are the original “just add water ” plant and they are surprisingly easy to grow. As much as I like to slow time down and savor one holiday before thinking of the next, if you like fresh paperwhites blooming for Christmas, now’s the time to start forcing these beauties. The bulbs need 4 to 6 weeks of light to bloom. Forcing bulbs is easy and a relaxing activity. On a cold Sunday I got busy planting mine. Come along and get inspired to start your own paperwhites too. First choose a container and fill it with at least 2 inches of drainage material of your choice, either glass beads or pea gravel. Place bulbs closely together on top, pointy side up.
A soil layer is optional and not necessary for the bulbs to grow. It adds a bit of support to the growing bulbs but it is an esthetic preference. At this stage some like to add reindeer moss also for a visual preferance as I did for this other container.
Start watering, place in a lighted room and in 4 to 6 weeks you will be rewarded with the fragrant and beautiful blooms of paperwhites! For staggered bloom times, keep some of the bulbs at room temperature in a dark place until ready to plant. In this way you can extend your enjoyment of these gorgeous blooms.
While we’re still trying to not let our holidays cross one another, here is a lovely hostess gift or favor for your Thanksgiving or fall gatherings which is a quick but delightful paperwhite project with Mason or Ball jars: take a jar, fill it three quarters full of pea gravel.
Place a single bulb on top, screw on rim, add a seasonal bow, a tag and you can send your guests home with a fragrant, long blooming and beautiful token of friendship!
Have you got visions of fragrant paperwhites dancing in your head too?