A Promise of Spring – Forcing Paperwhite Bulbs!

How about forcing paperwhite bulbs into bloom in January?

If not, you are missing a wonderful chance to get out of the winter blahs! They are so cheerful looking and the scent is nice, and it is so easy I can let my ten-year-old grandson do it if he was not so busy with his Christmas presents!

The paperwhite bulb is a Narcissus papyraceus which is a bulb that does not need to be pre-chilled to bloom. These are usually sold around Christmas time and you can force them earlier to have blooms for the holidays. But I want to have the flowers in the mid-January snowstorms and ice storms so that I can see and feel flowers again. It will help me get through to spring. Forcing bulbs for blooming has been going on since the 1800s. The coldness in a house without central heating helped the bulbs survive for longer periods of time.

Paperwhite bulbs A Promise of Spring - The Hypertufa Gardener


The variety that I have this year is Ziva and they supposedly have larger flowers and a “spicy” aroma. I don’t remember the variety that I have had previously, so I hope I like the “spicy” scent. I wish I knew if these were the ones I have had before that had a nice pleasant scent.

I have planted ( if you call sticking bulbs on the top of a rock bed planting) ten bulbs in a large round bowl that I’ve filled about one-third full of smooth polished stones. They seem to hold the bulbs well and I hope that the roots will grow into the water. I put enough water to just touch the bottom of the bulbs. More may tend to make the bulbs rot.

Below is a short film of my simple method for forcing these paperwhite bulbs.


Blooming should occur about 3-4 weeks after “planting,” therefore you can plan the time you’d like them for presentation. I will have the fragrant blossoms to greet me each morning. I am so looking forward to this.

And when you take your photographs, perhaps you will catch a glimpse of yourself as I see in this one.

paperwhite bulbs blooming winter 2016 - the hypertufa gardener

I also had the Amaryllis which bloomed too late for Christmas, but finally in early January. It grew to  about 28  inches high and the blossom was three huge flowers.  My amaryllis is the  “Apple Blossom” variety . I will be so thrilled if I can keep it another year for re-blooming.  Here is the post on amaryllis.


Amaryllis 2016 - The Hypertufa Gardener.com



Are you forcing any bulbs this year? Try it. It is so easy and the rewards are wonderful.

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