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The holidays are looming and you have no idea what to get anyone. Why not give a gift of spring with paperwhite narcissus for indoor forcing?
Paperwhite narcissus force easily and quickly inside. All you need are a few pebbles and a watertight container. You can get really inventive and use almost any container that will hold water. A ceramic coffee mug with a paperwhite growing in it can make an attractive and affordable gift as can a pretty glass bowl with three or five bulbs.
In place of pebbles, you can let your imagination go and use colored aquarium gravel or glass “beads” you can find at a craft store. As long as the bulbs have something to anchor them in the container, it doesn’t matter. A clear glass bowl with red and green glass beads would certainly be Christmas-y indeed!
Half the fun of getting a gift that grows is actually watching that gift grow. For gifts, I pot my paperwhites no more than a day or two ahead of time.
And sometimes I don’t even pot them up. I’ll give the bulbs, a container, and a bag of decorative pebbles as a “kit” and let the lucky gift recipient pot everything together themselves. Kids especially love that.
To grow paperwhites successfully, chose a container at least three or more inches deep. Place pebbles, glass beads, etc. in the bottom of the container and arrange the bulbs on top. Cover the bulbs just to the tip, but not over it. Add water until it just touches the bottom of the bulbs.
A sunny window during the day and a cool place at night will keep the flower stems sturdy.
To keep them much shorter, about 10 days after planting, replace the water in the container with a solution of one part vodka or gin with seven parts water or one part isopropyl rubbing alcohol with ten parts water.
By the way, have you been good this year? I’ll bet you have. When selecting paperwhites to give as gifts, remember to pick up a few to brighten up your own home. They make perfect gifts for others and for yourself.
You’ll find a wonderful selection at the Great Big Greenhouse, so do stop by now before they’re sold out.