garden window

Forcing Paperwhites for the Holidays

In an effort to continue gardening through winter, I have decided to try some extra indoor gardening this year.  I have a garden window that looks pretty sparse these days, so I’m going to try my hand at forcing bulbs.


Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) are popular indoor plants for winter and the holiday season. Unlike other narcissus, paper whites don’t require a chilling period, so forcing them is as easy as putting the bulbs in water and waiting. The fragrant flowers bloom within about 3 weeks of planting, for almost instant gratification.

I tried a few websites first, just to take a look at the varieties that might be available.  The shipping charges for these items were enough to have me running  to my local Home Depot and checking out my luck there.  I found the Paperwhite Ziva variety, 6 bulbs to a package.  They appear to be pretty healthy, and anxious to start growing!


I used one of my favorite planters, one that does not have drainage holes in the bottom, spread a layer of glass stones on the bottom.  I then placed 3 of the bulbs in the stones, anchored them slightly in the stones, and then placed more stones around them.

Water the stones until the bulbs are touching the water.  You don’t want to cover the bulbs with water as they will rot.

Now all you have to do is wait!  But only 3 or 4 weeks.  I will be starting another planter in 2 weeks, so that the show will continue through the holidays.

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