Paper White Narcissus

After the holidays, gardeners often seek tender bulbs that bloom indoors such as the Paper White Narcissus. They will light up our homes and hearts in winter.

a bunch of paper white narcissus flowers before a pink background.

Photo: mlecuni

Paper White Narcissus are known as tender bulbs meaning that they cannot grow outdoors in winter. However, they are desirable for growing indoors.

Tender Bulbs

After the holidays, gardeners often turn their attention to tender bulbs that bloom indoors such as the Paper White Narcissus. Tender bulbs have been pre-cooled which makes them easy to grow. However, once they have bloomed the bulbs must be discarded because they have totally exhausted their energy.

Tips For Buying And Growing Tender Bulbs Like Paper White Narcissus

Tender bulbs are notorious for floppy foliage when they are grown in a house window rather than in a greenhouse. Nevertheless, when the highly scented clusters of flowers appear, they light up our homes and our hearts. Follow these steps to grow one in your house:

  1. Buy the largest bulbs available and examine the bottom flat basal plate to make sure it is undamaged.  These bulbs can be put in any deep container–drainage holes are not required.
  2. The container should be filled three quarters full with pebbles.
  3. The bulbs are then placed on top of the stones and water is added until it reaches the basal plate of each bulb.  Too much water and they will rot.
  4. Then add more pebbles so that the bulbs are securely anchored and upright.  They don’t need the water to be replenished until heavy root growth has occurred.
  5. Store the pot in a cool dark place until the roots have emerged and then place the pot in a cool sunny window.
  6. Turn the pot frequently once the leaves appear.
  7. Stake the plants with small bamboo sticks and tie with green yarn so that the foliage does not flop over.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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