Forcing Bulbs for Beautiful Flowers All Winter

3 Materials
5 Minutes

After the holidays, the winter can seem like it will never end. I love to force bulbs, like paperwhites, to get a feeling of the approaching spring.
I love to force paper whites in the winter. They are the easiest plant to grow and care for!
The planting process is so simple. Just find a container you love. Next choose a planting medium. You can use soil mulched with rocks, just rocks, or decorative glass beads and even marbles. Finally, your bulbs. Paperwhites have a great fragrance but you can choose an unscented variety as well if you prefer.
Simply plant the wide bottom in the medium leaving about a third of the bulb above the surface. If you want to plant several bulbs for a larger display, plant the bulbs close together. They actually prefer being packed together.
Keep your pot near a bright window. This will keep the paperwhites from getting droopy. You also want to keep them well watered. About a quarter of the bulb to a half in water.
Allow three to five weeks for them to bloom. The blooms can last several weeks if properly cared for aka watering. If they start to drop you can tie them with string or steak them to keep them upright. You can even transplant them out to your garden after the bloom is spent. I often stagger starting pots of these throughout the winter and early spring. They are a beautiful and inexpensive way to have a touch out spring all winter long!
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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Katrina Albert-Filoramo
    on Feb 6, 2020

    Do you have any other bulb/flower ideas that would work well also?

    • You can force pretty much any bulb. Most other bulbs will need to be chilled for 8 weeks. The paperwhites do not and that is why I like them so much.

  • Brenda Behnke Foroozan
    on Feb 9, 2020

    When you talk about watering them, you say, “About a quarter of the bulb to a half in water.” Could you explain this more? Are you saying to keep the plant container full up to the 1/4 of the bulb all the time?

    • So sorry for the delay, had a rough few weeks this month! Since these bulbs are planted in rock and not soil, they dry easily and will die. A good way to be sure they are getting the water they need is to keep the water line in the container at a level about 1/4 of the way up the bulb. So that the bottom quarter is in water. If you water too high, then the bulb starts to rot and dies. It sounds complex but they are pretty forgiving. Just don't let it completely dry out or overwater and you will get great blooms! Happy planting!

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