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.
Related Reading: Shortening Tall Houseplants
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 containers without drainage holes.
Step 2 Press bulbs, nose up, into the soil or stones, enough to hold the bulbs in place.
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.