Paper Whites

Posted On December 8, 2009

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Plant of the month > Paper Whites >

Paper Whites belong to the Narcissus family and are usually the first indoor bulbs to flower. They take only about four to six weeks from planting, so if you want them for Christmas don’t delay and get them into a pot straight away.

There are two methods of growing them. One is to plant them in compost and the other is to grow them in water. For the first method use a shallow pot without drainage holes and after putting a few small stones in the bottom for weight, add some potting compost and sit the bulbs firmly on this. Do not let the bulbs touch each other or the side of the pots. Fill with compost but leave the tops of the bulbs exposed. Give them a little water and put them in a cool shaded place until shoots appear. They will grow fast once they have started.

The other way is to grow them in a glass jar or bowl with some pretty pebbles, stones or shells in the bottom and sit the bulbs firmly on them. Add water to just below the bulb and keep it topped up at that level. Keep the bowl in a well lit position and wait for the lovely flowers to appear.

The sweetly perfumed flowers grow in clusters and there maybe five or six or even more to each stem. They look like little white stars and can last up to two or three weeks. They were originally natives of the western Mediterranean but these days they can be grown successfully all around the world.