Updated: Dec 22, 2019
Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Last week we talked about Amaryllis bulbs. Another favorite bulb to enjoy during the winter are Paperwhites, one of the easiest to get to flower indoors. These flowers belong to the daffodil family and will bloom any time of year.
Try these steps:
· Buy large firm bulbs.
· Store bulbs in a cool and dark location until green shoots and roots appear.
· Place several bulbs (they grow well together) in a shallow dish (6 to 8” wide) with water (be sure to use pots with no drainage holes) and gravel. Roots will anchor around the gravel to stabilize the plants. No soil needed. Brown or earth toned gravel will complement the color of the bulb.
· Nestle them in the gravel about a quarter of the way up the bulb. Pointed side should be up and they should be almost touching.
· Add water until it just touches the bulb. No higher or the bulb may rot.
· Move to full sun.
· No need to fertilize. The bulbs store all the nutrients they need to flower.
The flowers will bloom within a month and range from yellow to white in color. Most will stay pretty through the holiday season. A plus is that they can be bought in prepackaged pretty vases.
Most stalks are not sturdy so they will probably need to be staked.
Once they have bloomed and the blooms are spent, you can try planting outdoors. The success level for outdoor planting seems to be very low. My research shows them to grow outdoors only in Zones 8 (we are 7b) and above. However, they do need hot, dry weather. You may want to give it a try because if there is anything we have going for us in West Texas it is hot dry weather. If it doesn’t work, don’t despair. Paperwhites may be what one of our Master Gardeners refers to as “a one hit wonder”.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Visit our website www.westtexasgardening.org