Forcing Paperwhites Indoors

Paperwhites, or Narcissus, are early spring bloomers when planted outdoors, but you can enjoy their bloom in time for Christmas if you plant them indoors three to six weeks prior to December 25th. These beautiful bulbs grow quite tall which actually becomes a problem when they grow so tall that the weight of their blooms cause them to topple over.

For so long, I’ve tried different methods to prevent the topple including staking and tying them, or giving them less light, but I recently learned about a tip to stunt their growth – give them vodka! By giving them a solution of 1 part vodka to 7 parts water, the alcohol stunts the green growth enough so they don’t grow tall enough to fall over, but not enough to interfere with the bloom. Adding spirits will make these blooms bright!

Plant paperwhites in regular potting soil, taking care not to cover the entire bulb toward the top. They should be kept on the dryer side with consistent watering. Since they are prone to rot, do not over-water. Paperwhites need bright light and will bloom in three to six weeks. When they are done blooming, let the green die back naturally before cutting back. Then dig the bulbs out and store in a cool, dry place in a paper bag for planting again next year.

Pro tip: add Spanish moss around the bulbs after planting to hide the soil and make your planter look finished. 

Forcing Paperwhites Indoors | @beesandbubbles
Forcing Paperwhites Indoors | @beesandbubbles
Forcing Paperwhites Indoors | @beesandbubbles
Forcing Paperwhites Indoors | @beesandbubbles
Forcing Paperwhites Indoors | @beesandbubbles
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