Forcing Paperwhites

Paperwhites, a member of the Daffodil family, are popular indoor plants during winter and the holiday season. Unlike other Daffodil bulbs, Paperwhites don’t require a chilling period in order to bloom, making them the easiest bulb to force indoors. They bloom about three weeks after planting.

While Paperwhites can be grown in soil, it’s more common to grow them in water.

  1. Select a container that’s about 3 – 4 inches deep and has no drainage holes. Avoid concrete and terra cotta containers, as they can absorb water. Glass or ceramic containers are the best option.
  2. Add an inch of stones, marbles or water beads to the bottom of the container. If you’re using a glass container, use colorful stones or marble for a pop of color. If using water beads, make sure they have already absorbed water
  3. Position your bulbs in the container, pointed end facing up. Squeeze in as many bulbs as possible. Not only will the bulbs support each other but the blooms look better in large groups.
  4. Add another layer of stone, marbles or beads around the bulbs to further stabilize them, filling in any gaps. Leave at least ½ the bulb exposed.
  5. Add water until it reaches the base of the bulbs to stimulate root growth. Only the very base of the bulbs should touch the water, anything more may lead to root rot.
  6. At this point your bulbs don’t need much light. Keep them in a cool dark place (about 65°) and check daily to see if your bulbs need water.
  7. Once your bulbs have started to grow roots, move them to a brightly lit area and continue to monitor their water needs.
  8. Once the bulbs have bloomed, you can move them into more filtered light to extend their bloom-time.
  9. For a continuous display of blooms, plant batches of Paperwhites every couple of weeks.