How to Grow Paperwhite Narcissus
(Photo by Canva)
When people think of holiday houseplants, poinsettias usually come to mind. Rightfully so! They’re one of the most popular plants on the market during the holidays. One plant many people overlook for decor during winter months is the paperwhite narcissus.
These bulbs are fragrant, white as snow, and reminiscent of spring weather that’s to come. Paperwhite narcissus bulbs can be purchased at your local garden center and even online. If you decide to force these bulbs to grow indoors, plant them in either potting soil or gravel. It’s best to plant several of the bulbs together! Here’s how to make your plants grow in each potting situation:
- Gravel: To start, fill a watertight container with washed gravel and leave enough room to comfortably place your plant in. Place the bulbs, pointed side up, on the surface of the gravel. Fill the container with gravel, covering all but ½ to 1 inch of the bulbs. Add water to the container so it touches just the bottom of the bulbs. Do not cover the bulbs with water.
- Soil: Follow the same planting depth as you would if planting in gravel. When watering your plant, remember to keep the soil moist, but not wet.
After planting the bulbs, place them in a cool, dark location for two weeks to encourage root growth. The plants can be moved to a sunny area in your house after those two weeks are up. You can expect to see a bloom around six weeks after planting! The stems of paperwhites can be flimsy at times, so you may need to stake them to help them stand up straight.
Paperwhites can last longer if they are in a cool environment. Most of us don’t keep our homes at 60 degrees during the winter. At night, place your plant in an outdoor garage or patio area where it’s slightly cooler than indoors to help extend its life expectancy. Just be sure not to place them where temperatures get below freezing!
Check out Southern Gardening’s Facebook video on how to force paperwhite narcissus plants to grow indoors! Extension Publication 2309, “Holiday Houseplants,” offers several great recommendations of plants to collect during the holiday season!
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