A Passion for Narcissus

Narcissus, so enraptured with his own image in a pool of water, couldn’t pull away only to die there. The narcissus flower, commonly known as Paperwhite, soon grew in that very same spot. Maybe this explains the allure of the beautiful Paperwhite. I cannot seem to pass one by without stopping for a long while to take in the earthy sweet aroma.

Paperwhites fragrant flowers bloom within about 3 weeks of planting for almost instant gratification, plus, a great way to lift your spirits in the cold winter months.

Tools and Materials

  • A container without drainage holes, such as a traditional bulb pan
  • Clean pebbles about 1/2-inch in diameter
  • Large, firm bulbs of paperwhite narcissus
  • Water

Fill a container with pebbles to within an inch of the rim. Add water until it is just below the top of the pebbles.

Set the bulbs on the surface of the pebbles, crowding them together so they almost touch. Add more pebbles, covering the bottom third of the bulbs. Make sure the bulbs themselves are not touching the water, or they may grow mold and rot.

Maintain the water level described above and leave the bulbs in a cool location with little or no light. This cool darkness encourages root growth.

After a week or two, tug gently on the bulbs from time to time to test for root development. Once they feel rooted, move them to a bright spot without direct sunlight. They should flower in three to five weeks.

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