Heavenly scented with White trumpeted flowers, the Paperwhite Narcissus is a joy. And, it's so easy to grow, too! A native of Mediterannean Europe and Asia Minor, it is now grown around the world. Paperwhites are small members of the Narcissus family (Daffodils and Jonquils are larger family members). What Paperwhites lack in size, they make up for in fragrance and charm. For little flowers, they are big in the popularity department. These winter and spring blooming flowers are equally popular grown as an indoor houseplant. Growing them indoors adds bright cheery blooms and a sweet scent to an otherwise dreary winter 's day.
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Paperwhite narcissus are one of the easiest bulbs to force for cut flowers or ornamental displays in the home from December to March. They can be forced without a chilling period.
To force paperwhites, fill a bulb pan with about one to two inches of potting soil, then position the bulbs in the soil so they are nearly touching each other with pointed end up. Add enough potting soil so that only the top half of the bulbs remain exposed, then water well.Paperwhites can also be forced in shallow decorative containers with pebbles and water, or in water alone. Place the bulb pans or decorative containers in a bright, cool room until the shoots are one to two inches tall. Then move the pots to a warmer location. Bulbs started in a warm room have a tendency to become leggy and the leaves flop over. No fertilizer is needed to force paperwhites.Paperwhites bloom four to eight weeks after potting. For a continuous show of color, start new pots of bulbs every couple of weeks throughout fall and winter. Commercially, several types are available. Some cultivars (varieties) have pure white flowers while others have white perianths with light yellow cups. Paperwhites originate in the Mediterranean and are tender bulbs. Thus, they can be grown outside only in Zones 8 to 11. Unless one lives in one of these zones, forced bulbs should be composted. Believe me - after 20 years of trying to get them to bloom again, I have given up.
Planting and Watering Instructions for Containers without Drainage Holes.
Planting -- Paperwhites can be forced using 3- to 4-inch deep decorative containers that do not have drainage holes. To force the bulbs using this system: 1. Place 1 to 2 inches of washed gravel or stones in the bottom of the container. 2. Carefully, place the bulbs on the gravel or stones. 3. Subsequently, place enough gravel or stones over or around the bulbs to hold them in place. Watering -- Add just enough water to bring it to base of the bulbs and subsequently, maintain it at this level. Do not immerse the bulbs in water, only the basal (root) plate should be in water.
Planting and Watering Instructions for Containers with Drainage HolesPlanting -- Use a well-drained, pH 6 to 7, sterilized planting medium. Any width pot can be used; it depends on the number of bulbs to be forced. However, use a pot that is 3 to 4 inches deep, and plant the bulbs with the noses even or slightly below the rim of the pot.Watering -- After planting, water the medium thoroughly. Then, keep it moist, but not soggy wet!
General Home Forcing Instructions.
Temperature - Initially, use a 60 to 65 degree area in the home. When in flower, use the coolest area of the home.Light -- Paperwhites will flower under any light conditions. However, for best results, initially place them in a window area with a southern exposure. When the plants begin to flower, remove them from direct sun-light and place plants in coolest area of the home. This helps to prolong the flowering of the plants.Fertilization -- None is required for forcing.Diseases and insects -- If healthy bulbs are purchased, no pests are generally encountered.