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A tipsy tip for paperwhites that don't topple

Several Hometalkers have posted recently about potting up paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta), one of the most popular, and easiest, plants for indoor forcing. Simply put them in a bowl with some pebbles, add a little water, and, two to three weeks later, voila. But one recurrent problem is the tendency of these fragrant bloomers to flop over. The solution: alcohol. Yes, by irrigating your plants with a diluted solution of alcohol (you can use vodka, gin, tequila, rum or even rubbing alcohol) you will end up with plants that are about one-third less high, but with blooms that are just as fragrant and last just as long. And this isn't just a folk remedy. The folks at the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University have tested it and proven it works. Two caveats: don't use too much alcohol (a 4 to 6 percent solution is optimal) and don't use beer or wine, as the sugars in those will cause major problems for the plants. You'll find complete directions here:

Got a question about this project?

  • Sharron W
    Sharron W Memphis, TN

    Well I just bought some and I'm going to give this a try...

  • Linnea Krones
    Linnea Krones Houston, TX

    These are just beautiful and delicate looking. I've never done this, but I may give it a shot.

  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL

    They are beautiful, Linnea, but they're not delicate. Give 'em a try!

  • Deborah S
    Deborah S Ossineke, MI

    I've never grown them but want to try this year. Thanks for the tip!

  • Nancy On The Home Front
    Nancy On The Home Front Bridgewater Corners, VT

    What a great tip, I am join to try this with my next batch of bulbs!

    • Douglas Hunt
      Douglas Hunt New Smyrna Beach, FL

      @Nancy On The Home Front Let us know the results, Nancy.

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!