Pretty Paperwhites!

February 19, 2013

I planted some paperwhite bulbs indoors a few months ago. By planted, I mean stuck in a container with some rocks and water. For a long time they didn’t do anything, but I finally figured out that they weren’t getting enough light and moved them in front of a window. After that, they sprung up several inches a day. Not joking, these suckers went from nothing to huge in a matter of days.

This is them on Jan 24th.

And this is them a week later. Almost four times as big and blooming up a storm.

I did realize one thing about these bulbs, however, that wasn’t so great: they are kinda stinky. This might not be a problem if they didn’t smell SO STRONGLY. I ended up having to move them into another room because they were overpowering. Next year I might try something a little more smell-friendly, like hyacinths. Anyway, I can’t complain about the looks, because they really are beautiful!

For the future, anyone have tips about getting them to spread out a bit and not grow so tall? Or is that just how they grow?

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  • Reply Linda Walter February 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    oh, and i love that scent so much…thinking i need to get some to plant

  • Reply Kara February 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Oh thank heavens. Everyone I know and every place I read says “oh you should force paperwhites – they’re so pretty and they smell so good!”. I think they stink! For such a pretty flower to smell soooo awful is a crime!

    • Reply Christina Sabo February 20, 2013 at 9:21 am

      OMG, I know! I don’t get the appeal of the scent. These were particularly offensive (and it wasn’t just me, my husband hated it, too).

  • Reply bellacorea February 20, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Your paperwhites are so beautiful! It reminds me last spring when I was wating for my basils in plant pots( It took two weeks to come out! 😀

  • Reply D Christian Harrison February 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I love their scent — but it is rather heady. So it falls into a gray area. As for their height, as soon as they’ve set down roots and gotten an inch or two of foliage, start watering them with an alcohol solution:

  • Reply Contemporary Cloth (@ccloth) February 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Hi Christina,
    Just a suggestion, the first time that I forced the paperwhites, I did it in stones with water…”I think” that was why they stunk, it’s the water. That smell overcomes the sweet scent of the flower. Then the following year, I did them in regular potting soil, and the house was filled with the sweet scent of the narcissus. I just watered the soil when it was dry, as with a regular plant.
    Also, I don’t think that there is anyway to thicken them out because they bloom once and then they will not bloom again. If you put them into a tall vase, that will help to keep them tall and you don’t have to stake them.
    Love your blog and your images, they are just lovely. Thank you, Sondra

    • Reply Christina Sabo February 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Ah, maybe that was the problem. I was wondering why so many people said they liked it when it was just awful! Perhaps I’ll give it another go next year. I still have a few bulbs I didn’t plant this year.

      • Reply Kara February 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

        I don’t think it’s the water. I’ve forced paperwhites in all kinds of mediums and they always stink to high heaven. I was doing some reading up on this and apparently to some people, the scent is just bad. It’s a genetic thing – kind of like some people have to asparagus. 😉

        Also some of the reading I’ve done suggests that it’s also the type of paperwhite. that there are other varieties that aren’t as stinky to those who are sensitive to the more common ones.

        • Reply Christina Sabo February 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

          Ah, well that’s interesting! I guess I have the “paperwhites stink” gene. Either that, or I picked the stinkiest variety possible. I could smell these things from rooms away. 🙂

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