How often should I water Paperwhite Narcissus?

Elaine Phillips
by Elaine Phillips
I planted some paperwhite narcissus bulbs a little over a week ago. They've 'sprouted' little green stems but I'm not sure how often to water them. I live in WA where the skies are often gray/overcast so they don't get an awful lot of sun/heat. They are located in an east facing window though.
I am so hoping they're in bloom near the week of Christmas/New Year's!
  3 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 10, 2013
    I'm not sure if you planted them in potting mix on in pebbles or stones. It's easiest with the latter because you can see the water, which you want to keep just at the "foot" of the bulb. If they're in potting mix, water when it is dry an inch below the surface. Be especially careful about overwatering if your pot doesn't have drainage. I usually start paperwhites in a dark place, and leave them there for a couple of weeks while they develop roots. You can test this by giving a little tug on the bulb. Then bring them to the brightest spot in your house. After they start to bloom, move them to a cooler spot where there is less light to prolong the bloom. To keep them from toppling over as they grow, follow the tip I posted last season about adding some alcohol to their water:
  • Mikell Paulson Mikell Paulson on Nov 10, 2013
    Douglas is right! I am from WA. too! Are you in Eastern or Western WA? Most need a cold snap to get them to bloom! Good luck!
    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 11, 2013
      @Mikell Paulson Paperwhites don't need a cold snap, that's why they make such good bulbs for forcing. indoors.
  • Elaine Phillips Elaine Phillips on Nov 13, 2013
    Thanks for the info, Douglas. I planted them in potting mix. It seems like they've already taken root too. I hope they weren't exposed to sunshine too early - they've grown about 2-3" already! There is no drainage hole so I will be careful with the amount of water they are given. Mikell, I'm in Western WA and the pots are in an east facing window. Because the weather has been nice the last few days they've really grown more than I expected. I appreciate the great tips and help on how to prolong the blooms!