Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to force Paperwhites


Narcissus is a family of hardy bulbs which includes daffodils and paperwhites. These are hardy bulbs which are planted in the late fall and will bloom in the spring. All narcissus can be forced to bloom indoors, but paperwhites are the easiest because they don’t require a long cooling period in order to bloom.
All you’ll need is a container and some rock, sand or marbles. Paperwhites can be grown in soil, sand, rocks or marbles. Because paperwhites are generally discarded after they bloom, the planting medium doesn’t have to supply nutrients. When you’re buying bulbs, remember that all paperwhites have a scent.

Zivas have the strongest scent, while Inbals are more lightly scented. Look for the labels so you’ll get the ones you want. Get enough bulbs to fill your container. The display will look better and it will help keep the flowers from falling over.
Place a couple of inches of rocks, sand, colorful marbles in the bottom of your  container. Place the bulbs with the wide bottom down and the pointed end up on top of the stones or marbles.
Use enough bulbs to fill the container. This will ensure a great display and help keep the flowers more upright. Next, fill in around the bulbs with more stones or marbles.
Forcing vases are also available.
Choose a vase, nest the bulb in the top of the vase and add enough water to touch the base of the bulb. Check your bulbs daily to ensure the water level is just touching the base of the bulb. Paperwhites will go bad if you submerge the bulb, so keep the water level right at the base of the bulb. Place your bowl or pot in a bright location. Plenty of light will keep the flower stems from growing too tall and becoming floppy.
Roots will develop in about two weeks, followed by top growth and then blooms. You can start paperwhites every few weeks for continuous blooms through the holidays and into late winter. Paperwhites can be planted after they have bloomed, but it may take several seasons in order for the bulbs to gain enough energy to re-bloom.

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