wednesday’s flowers – paperwhites for the holidays

December 21, 2011

I was a prepared flower girl this year and planted some paperwhite bulbs back the middle of November and now they are blooming just in time for the holidays. Our house smells heavenly and they sure do look pretty on the fireplace mantel.

Paperwhites, Narcissus papyraceus, are flowering bulbs that grow naturally in the Mediterranean but focused to grow indoors in Canada and other cold regions. The bulbs normally take 4 to 6 weeks to bloom so you have to time it right if you want them to bloom at a specific time.

The white flowers are borne in clusters and have a very sweet, intoxicating, fragrance. They have become another must for me for the holidays. I love to watch them grow and adore the tiny white blooms that finally emerge.

Planting Paperwhite Tips:

  • use potting soil as your planting medium.
  • cover the bulbs with soil only up to their shoulders, the top portion of the bulb should be out of the soil.
  • in colder regions these bulbs need to be kept warm, do not treat them like winter hardy Daffodils and Narcissus.
  • remember to water your Paperwhites once they are planted.
  • these bulbs look best planted in grouping of 5, 7, and 9 bulbs.
  • Paperwhite grow tall, make sure the stems are supported as hey grow or the will flop and look messy.
  • Paperwhite bulbs can be replanted the following year, allow all the foliage to dye back and remove from bulb, then store in a cool, dry location. Re-pot the follow year.

I planted my Paperwhites in a tall, clear glass vase with a narrowed throat; I chose this vase for its high which is giving the stems support. I also planted an Amaryllis in the middle of the Paperwhite grouping. That way I have something to enjoy once the Paperwhites are done blooming.

Planting Paperwhites has become a little tradition for me for the holidays, I’m sure this is one I will keep up for many years to come!

On a side note, Paperwhite bulbs make a great gift for a gardener or flower lover!


Maria Dowey

White and green flower combination is looking beautiful and eye-catching. These tips are really helpful to plant any kind of seed in your flower vase.


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