When to Force Paperwhites to Bloom
Because the bulbs typically take four to six weeks to bloom, you’ll need to time the planting for blooms to appear when you want them. For instance, if you want Christmas blooms, start forcing the bulbs a week or so before Thanksgiving.
To grow paperwhites outdoors, plant them any time from fall through spring. … The leaves supply the energy the plant needs to produce flowers during the next season. In warm climates, paperwhites are less demanding than other narcissus varieties. With this minimal care, they’ll come back from year to year.
Many people toss out forced paperwhite bulbs when the blooms are off the plants, but an option is to transplant the bulbs, yellowing foliage and all, into a sunny garden site. If you forced the bulbs in material such as stones or shells, then the bulbs may take two years to restock their reserves and flower again.
When forcing paperwhite narcissus in bowls, partially fill the container with washed gravel or stones. Place the bulbs on the gravel or stones. Then place additional gravel or stones around the bulbs, leaving the tips (noses) of the bulbs exposed. Add water to the bowl until it touches the bottom of the bulbs.
Fortunately there’s a simple trick that can prevent this from happening. When the stems reach 5 inches, add vodka to the water. Much as you might expect this treatment to make the plants tipsy, it instead burns the roots, which slows growth and prevents the stems from toppling.
In a nutshell, getting paperwhites to rebloom is not probable. The cost of the bulbs is minimal, so the best idea for flowering is to purchase another set of bulbs. Remember, paperwhite bulb reblooming in zone 10 may be possible, but even this ideal condition is not a sure-fire prospect.
Set the pot of bulbs in a standing pan of water and allow to absorb the liquid for an hour or so and then remove and let drain. Paperwhite bulb forcing requires a cool temperature of around 50 to 60 degrees F. (10-15 C.) for two weeks and can then be moved into a warmer, sunnier area.
When paperwhite bulbs are forced, they cannot be reused or regrown; however, when planted in soil and allowed to grow and bloom on their timing, you can reuse or regrow paperwhites every year. Plan on planting your paperwhites outdoors in October or November in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11.
They grow in the proper zone as long as you get them into the soil in fall or give them a cold period before planting. Narcissus requires well-draining soil in full sun. Amend the soil with leaf litter or plenty of compost when growing paperwhites.
about 2 weeks
How Long Do Paperwhites Last? Paperwhites will bloom for about 2 weeks. After that, snip off the faded flowers and either enjoy the green leaves as a houseplant for a few more weeks or drop the bulbs and leaves in the compost pile.Dec 11, 2020
The care after flowering is important if attempting to save forced bulbs. After blooming, remove the spent flowers and place the plants in a sunny window. Water regularly until the foliage begins to yellow. At this point, gradually cut back on watering until the foliage withers and dies.
Container plants that have been previously forced into bloom cannot be forced again; however, you can plant bulbs in the garden. If you plan to replant these forced bulbs outdoors, sprinkle a small amount of bulb boosting fertilizer on top of the soil, as most will not flower well again without some help.
Deadhead them once they have flowered to help divert energy to building up reserves in the bulb rather than for seed production. Do not remove the foliage; leave it for at least six weeks after flowering – or longer – and this will also help next year’s flowers.
But don’t chuck them: store them. When they’ve finished flowering, leave them in their pots for the following year, or dry them off, leaving the leaves to shrivel on the bulb, and re-pot them again late next year.
Although forcing is hard on a plant, replanting forced daffodil bulbs is a common practice — they can even be encouraged to flower again in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 through 9 with proper care.
Store the paper bag in a moderately cool and dry location. A standard interior room with temperatures between 60 F and 75 Fahrenheit is ideal for paperwhite storage. Store the paperwhite bulbs for three to four months in the bag. Remove the bulbs from the bag when you are ready to plant them.
Check the bulbs frequently and water thoroughly when the potting mix is dry 1″ below the surface (but not more than once a week until the bulbs begin active growth), or when the water level is more than 1″ below the stones or glass in your vase.
The main in-home threat would be growing them in excess water or soggy soil. Paperwhites grow ideally in a gravel tray with the water level just touching the bottom of the bulbs.
To Save All Forced Bulbs: Clip off dead blooms, leaving the foliage intact. Set containers in a sunny window indoors, or a bright, but protected spot outside and continue watering as usual. Allow the soil to dry out completely once the leaves have withered and died.
Fill a pot or dish halfway with soil or gravel. You’ll want at least 2 inches of soil or gravel for drainage. Set the bulbs gently in the soil or gravel, and pack more soil around the bulbs, leaving the tips visible. Water the bulbs thoroughly until the soil is soaked.
Meaning: Hope, faithfulness.
The Farmer’s Almanac says that the meaning of the Narcissus paperwhite (see below) conveys an unconditional love for your beloved.
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