5 Steps For Less Floppy Paperwhite Narcissus

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Many people love paperwhite Narcissus bulbs for holiday decoration, but are disappointed because they get leggy before blooming. Check out these 5 steps and the video for growing your own great paperwhite Narcissus this year.

Alcohol – Secret For Shorter Paperwhite Stems

To shorten narcissus stems by 1/3 to 1/2 over their normal size and keep the same size flowers – use alcohol, diluted with water.

Allow four weeks between potting up your bulbs and when want bloom.

Follow these instructions for shorter, sturdier paperwhite stems that won’t flop over. If you want the longer, leggier paperwhites, follow the same instructions but just leave out the alcohol.

Step 1 When selecting a pot for growing paperwhites, drainage is important to prevent rot. If your planting container has drainage holes, fill the container with a good quality potting soil. Stones or rocks can be used for planting planting containers without drainage holes.

Step 2 Press bulbs, nose up, into the soil or stones, enough to hold the bulbs in place.
paperwhite Narcissus
Step 3. Water well – No Fertilizer!. Water the soil… do not soak it.

Step 4. Keep plants in a well lighted area at room temperature. Keep out of the direct sun or the foliage will stretch toward the sun.

Step 5. The Shortening Step! When the shoots are 1″ – 2″ inches above the the top of the bulbs, start watering with a diluted solution of four to six percent alcohol – DO NOT exceed 10%.

Rubbing alcohol and distilled spirits such as gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and tequila are all fine. Beer and wine contain sugars – DO NOT USE THEM.

To determine the correct dilute solution, take the percentage of alcohol on the label and divide by five.

Extending Paperwhites Bloom Time

For longer blooming season, try to keep the paperwhites in a cool room. Heat or a warm environment will shorted bloom time.

To force indoors for next spring – Get Started Soon! Also consider these other bulbs for forcing indoor blooms: Crocus, daffodil, muscari, hyacinth and tulips.

Images: source

Forcing, Etc.: The Indoor Gardener’s Guide to Bringing Bulbs, Branches & Houseplants into Bloom

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What To Do This Month- August

August's lazy days are here, when even the most energetic gardener's enthusiasm is dampened by lethargy.
  • Water & Weed - Make it a point, at least, to water and weed in preparation for Autumn's cooler days and flowers.
  • fall-petunia-083114
  • Pinch Petunias - Pinch back leggy growths on petunias. A boost with a liquid fertilizer will keep them flowering profusely until frost.
  • Transplant - Plants which have finished blooming may be transplanted or divided: Japanese and bearded iris, Madonna lilies, Oriental poppies, daylilies, Virginia bluebells, Trains and Spring-flowering bulbs whose clumps need separating.
  • Sow Seeds - Sow seeds of bush beans, endive, lettuce, spinach, dwarf peas, turnips and cress for late crops.
  • Red Spider - Watch evergreens for red spider infestations. Hot, dry weather promotes the mites.
  • Harvest Herbs - Herbs may be cut and cured in a dry, airy place, without exposing to the sun, before storing for the Winter. The best time to pick them is just before the plants begin to flower, any time during the day as long as the dew has disappeared. Learn how to preserve herbs from the garden to the freezer.
  • House Plants - Water house plants with liquid fertilizer and cut back straggly shoots to induce bushy growth. New plants may also be started from cuttings. Neem oil sprays will get rid of mealy bugs, scale and white flies.
  • Wildlife - If you want the birds to come to your garden, let sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos and other Compositor, especially in out-of-the-way places, go to seed. Goldfinches and other seed-eaters will find them unerringly.