Paperwhite narcissus--winter flowers

Paperwhite narcissus--winter  flowers

Before I had a cat, every winter I would grow  paperwhite narcissus bulbs.

Paperwhite narcissus are related to the yellow daffodils of spring. They are native to the western Mediterranean, from Greece to Portugal, Morocco and Algeria. They grow from bulbs, forming grassy foliage and wonderfully fragrant flowers.

WARNING-- Bulbs  are poisonous to cats!  If you want to grow something for your cats, try cat grass. Even if you don't have a cat, it's  fun to grow, too.

If  you  want to try growing paperweight narcissus bulbs, you could get a starter kit-- instructions, bulbs, soil and pot included--everything you need. These are very popular at holiday time, and you can find them  at Walgreens.  They make great gifts, and a fun project for kids, too.

You could also buy the bulbs and do it yourself.  Paperwhite narcissus bulbs  can be found at garden centers or online. The most readily available, and most reliable variety are the "Ziva" paperwhites. They are easy to grow.  All they need is a container and some growing  medium, such as potting soil.  You can even plant them  in pebbles and water, and they will bloom for you.  Plant  the bulbs halfway in the growing medium.  Water, and wait.

In a few days, you will see signs of growth.  You can move the container to a brighter  location, and watch the roots, leaves and flower stalks  forming.  All the energy to produce this plant is stored in the bulbs.   You are "forcing" them to bloom, by creating springlike conditions.

The flowers will last several weeks indoors.  Keep them in a cooler place if you want the flowers to last longer.  When the flowers are finished, most people toss the plants, as they are not easy to carry over once they have been forced into bloom.

If you do want to try and  get them to bloom again,  let the  plant go dormant .  You can leave the foliage, or trim it back.  When warm weather arrives, you can plant the bulbs outside in a sheltered, sunny spot. It may take several years for the bulbs to store enough energy to  bloom again



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Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: paperwhite narcissus


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  • If I try to grow one, would that make me a narcissist?

  • Only if you took a selfie! Give them a try, AW-- they are so easy and fun to grow...

  • Thanks for a very evocative post. I love seeing these winter blooms, and (as an old-school writer) I love the papery look!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading. Paperweights are fragrant, but not as overpowering as the Stargazer lilies...

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