Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Growing Paperwhites

Paperwhites are the perfect thing for children (or grown ups) to grow at this time of year. The biologist in me loves how this project allows children to learn about what happens under the soil as a plant shoots out its roots in order to grow. The artist in me loves how simple yet beautiful these flowers are in the depths of winter, and the Mom in me loves how this bulb can grow these beautiful flowers in the space of 2 weeks so my kids see change every day when they check on them. On top of all this they smell amazing.

The Paperwhite is in the Narcissus family and after you have enjoyed them in doors let them die off and you can plant them out in the spring and they will grow again next year along side your daffodil bulbs if your soil is well drained. Planting them indoors forces them to bloom early but who doesn't like a flower in January? They will not bloom a second time inside.

You will need:

A glass jar or large vase
Pebbles/small stones
A Paperwhites bulb I bulk ordered on Amazon but they can also be found in gardening shops or Home Depot (US readers)

Step 1

Fill container approximately 3/4 fill with stones.

Step 2

Take the bulb and gently nestle into the stones.

Fill the container with water so the water is just below the base of the bulb. Don't let the bulb sit in water because they may begin to rot.

Step 3

Place in a warm sunny spot and wait

Here are some done by the kids before Christmas, they added ribbons and tags to give as gifts.

Make sure you refill the jar with water as needed.

After a few days the dormant shoot will begin to emerge with a newer green shoot, and if you have the kids look carefully they will begin to see the roots being sent down into the rocks.

I love Paperwhites so much I had to plant a few of my own, I used larger stones and vase, planting 9 bulbs together. It was even cooler to track.

After about 2 weeks we had beautifully scented flowers to enjoy.

Our very own indoor snowflakes.

The single bulbs in full bloom.

In the large vase they grew so tall we had to tie a ribbon around them all to keep them up. I think next time we try this I'm going to have the kids measure the plants each day to track the growth because they grow at such an incredible rate.

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