Growing Paper Whites Bulbs

After great success with my Amaryllis bulb, I decided to try growing another type of bulb in a container.  Growing paper whites bulbs is a Christmas tradition for many because they are such a beautiful flower and so easy.  

Growing Paper Whites with Carmen Whitehead Designs

I hadn’t realized how popular they were until I tried to buy some and found that they were sold out every store or nursery I went to.  I ended up getting my 10 bulbs on Amazon and they arrived quickly and in good condition.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

I wanted to create two plantings in water, one for myself and one to gift to my mother.  I purchased two bags of decorative rocks, one small glass container and one plastic container at Dollar Tree ($1 each, so what a deal!)  

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

Now, you can definitely use containers with no holes that you already have i.e. milk glass bowl or goblet or vintage Tureen bowl.  But, I wanted to be able to see the roots growing and this makes it much easier to check the water level.  

First I placed rocks in each container about half way up.  You’ll want to make sure the rocks are clean, so give them a rinse.  You can also use glass beads of your favorite colors.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

After snuggling 3 bulbs into the small container, I added more gravel around them to give them some support.  I did remove some of the loose and dry skin off the bulbs to help keep the water clean.  This process doesn’t hurt the bulb at all.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

I had some black rocks on hand and I used those to tuck around the 7 bulbs in the larger container.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

Time to add some water now.  I poured in the water until it reached the very bottom of the bulb, just barely touching the roots.  These bulbs had very short or no roots at all, so it was a bit tricky.  You don’t want to submerge the bottom of the bulb ever.  This will cause the bulb to rot.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

You’ll want to check the water level every couple of days, depending on how dry your home is, and replenish it until it reaches the root crown.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

You can plant these in potting mix, but make sure it’s soilless potting mix.  Confused yet? You can buy soilless potting mix in little bricks and they expand when you add water.  If you were to buy an already packaged paper whites gift set, this is the type of mix that comes in the package.  But, make sure your container has holes so the water can drain.  Check the pot once a week and water once the top 1″ is dry.

Growing Paper Whites Bulbs by Carmen Whitehead Designs

My bulbs are Ziva Paper Whites and do not require any kind of cold period.  I can place them in a bright light, normal room temperature area and they will bloom within 3-5 weeks.  

Once they start growing, they can get pretty tall so tying them with some decorative string or ribbon will help them stand up straight.

Growing Paper Whites with Carmen Whitehead

Here’s a great example of how the roots look through the water and gravel…

Growing Paper Whites with Carmen Whitehead

Another way to gift these is planting them individually in mason jars and adding a little tag with instructions to simply add water.

Growing Paper Whites with Carmen Whitehead

Aren’t those lovely?  These would be perfect for teacher’s, co-workers or neighbors.

These bulbs, just like Daffodils, can be used year after year.  Simply take them out of the bowl or vase, cut the roots and leaves, and store them in a brown paper bag until the Fall when the cycle will start again.

I started my planting a little late, so they won’t be blooming in time for Christmas. But, they will be beautiful in January when I’m thinking of Spring flowers.  So, make sure you plant yours about 4-5 weeks before you want the blooms to be at peak.

Thank you friends for visiting me today and I will keep you posted on how my Paper Whites are doing.

Blessings,




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