29 November, 18
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Here's a fun holiday addition! Fragrant Paperwhites are tender Narcissus bulbs for forcing indoors in a pot of gravel in our colder climate.
Place bulbs in dishes or bowls filled with gravel, marbles or other decorative support material. Add water to a level just at the base of the bulbs. Keep in a bright but cool (60-65 degrees F) location. Within a week, roots form and stretch into the water and a green shoot about 1/2 in. long appears at the top. White fragrant flowers usually open up with in 2-3 weeks of planting.

Paperwhite bulbs are available NOW at $1.49 each or you can purchase potted bulbs (about 5 per pot) already in bloom for $9.99.

A common issue is the stems and leaves flop over just as the blooms open. By replacing your watering solution with a 5% alcohol solution (mix 1 part isopropyl alcohol with 10 parts water), you will keep the stems and foliage at 1/3 to 1/2 shorter than normal without affecting the flowers. This prevents flopping but don't do this if you have pets who may drink the water!

Paperwhite Comparison

Paperwhite without alcohol on left compared to 'pickled' bulb on right.


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