Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Paperwhites or Narcissus fancy indoor garden for Winter

Paperwhites are fairly easy to grow, they require some water, sunlight and a shallow bowl filled with rocks or something like rocks, potsherds, marbles or seashells for instance would do just as well. To a shallow bowl, something about the size of your cat dish, but don't use the cat's dish if you've got cats you really don't want them to drink from it or eat the plants as they grow, add your rocks or substitution. You could use a water proof can such as a peanut tin, as long as it's tin and not cardboard, wrap it with some nice decorative paper, tie it on with a ribbon or use a gluestick to keep the paper in place. Please do not use a native american southwestern pot to do this in, they are not made to be waterproof, and I've seen far too many used to hold water and how damaged they can get from this. To me the more difficult part of growing paperwhites is to actually find the bulbs for sale, I bought these at the big box store, sorry but they had them and the local garden centers don't carry many if at all. They are always 'winter hardened' when they are sold, which means they are ready to grow when you are, so please don't put them into the freezer. Now that you've got your stones in the bowl arrange the bulbs on top of the stones, root side down, add a few more stones to keep the bulbs in place, add enough water to touch the bottom of the bulb. Do not add too much stuff on top such as moss or whatever you're thinking might be lovely, you need to see the water level. Grow them in groups of at least 3, 5 or more. Keep the bulbs watered enough for the roots to grow into the water. You should not ever add so much water that the bulbs become submerged, or they will rot, what's that disgusting smell, yup the bulbs are rotting, dump all of that fetted water out and let them dry out a for a day before you add the proper amount of water. The wonderful smell that paperwhites are all about will come about once the flowers are blooming as in these pictures, and right now mine are wafting an amazing perfume that I can smell from a room away.
These are two groups of 5 in each pot, (they came in a bag of 10) Paperwhites I've been growing in the gallery window at Two Graces, where they get almost enough light. If they got enough light they would not grow so tall, which can sometimes mean you'll have to add stakes and tie them with ribbon. At some point mine will need to be staked, which usually happens anyway, and that's alright really, just do it as they start to get too top heavy and fall over. The root systems should be established enough under those rocks that they won't actually fall out of the bowl. These are a winter treat, which you can start the day you purchase them or save them for later from October through to March.
Top picture: handmade Birch Twig box with tin liner
Bottom Picture: Taos Raku Bowl w/star pattern

1 comment:

  1. I've got mine in a water and read y to bloom, for Christmas! great post and the risotto sounds delicious!!