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Potting Paperwhites: Everything You Need to Know about Narcissus

Each year, I pot narcissus and scatter throughout our home. They’re the quintessential winter flower, otherwise known as paperwhites that feel dreamy, yet traditional.

how to grow paperwhites also known as narcissus

I’ve planted narcissus in everything from a pretty brass planter, to bowls and traditional terra cotta. Sometime’s I’ll add a double faced satin ribbon to help the stand tall while adding a hint of color, but there are a few more paperwhite tricks I wanted to share with you.

how to grow paperwhites also known as narcissus

Paperwhite bulbs generally take 3-4 weeks to bloom once planted – I like to stagger them to have beautiful blooms all winter. I plant the first bulbs around Halloween, the second right before Thanksgiving, and often a third before Christmas because nothing is prettier in January than a little winter white! I use the holidays as my guide.

how to grow paperwhites also known as narcissus

A few notes about narcissus:

  • they love indirect sunlight
  • prefer cooler temperatures {I keep recently planted bulbs in the garage}
  • you can use gravel or soil, a vase or pot
  • they only bloom once, no need to keep them beyond their bloom
  • they like to drink {see below}
  • rotate the container so paperwhites don’t reach for light in one direction or another

potted paperwhites / narcissus bulb tips

Once bulbs have 2″ shoots, you can water them with a 7/1 solution of whiskey, gin or vodka to prevent narcissus from becoming floppy. Another option is to add a stake and tie a ribbon around them – whichever you prefer.

tips to keep your narcissus strong and tall

The roots will push the bulbs up, so choose a deep container {3+ inches} or make your peace that bulbs will show. I personally love seeing a hint of bulb. If the roots peek out, you can simply tuck them back in. Technically you should have a well draining container if using soil and a water tight container, like a vase if you’re using gravel, but since I don’t keep them beyond their bloom, I use whatever fits our decor and have had a lot of success.

Narcissus also make beautiful gifts potted in a mug, bowl, glass jar or planter!

I hope you enjoyed these tips for growing paperwhite bulbs / narcissus flowers. If you have any tips or just a love of paper whites, I’d love to hear!


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entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner


4 comments on “Potting Paperwhites: Everything You Need to Know about Narcissus”

  1. This is so cute. Totally doing this when I have my own place.
    xo, Meghan

  2. Pingback: Home for Christmas Using Fresh Garlands and Greenery and Simple Decorating Ideas

  3. Hi Julie,
    Happy New year! Which size Jute Rug did you use in this space? Thanks

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