"One of the easiest flowering plants to
grow inside is the paperwhite narcissus," said James Schuster.
"These bulbs can go a long way in warming the heart and cheering the
peppery-scented bulb flowers are actually members of the daffodil
family. They require no cold treatment like all the other spring
bulbs. As they grow easily, they do not need potting soil.
"You can use a bowl with pebbles,
marbles or something else that will help hold the bulb's roots in
place so the stems can reach for the sky," he said.
Paperwhites are available at many
garden centers and floral shops. They can often be purchased as bare
bulbs for planting or in easy-to-grow kits. Pre-grown potted plants
are available for those who want to enjoy the blooms with a minimum
"The growing of paperwhites without
potting soil is both easy and full of possibilities," said Schuster.
"Paperwhites make a great fun project for kids and adults. They can
be used as arrangements or beautiful gifts."
If buying bare bulbs, Schuster said
it is important to look for firm, heavy bulbs with no bruises or
nicks. Buy big bulbs for more stems and flowers.
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"If you cannot plant
the bulbs soon after purchasing, store them in a cool location but
not in a refrigerator. Do not store with any kind of fruit," he
No fertilizing is needed, as the
bulb contains all the plant nutrients. For the same reason, no soil
"Use a watertight container that is
at least 4 to 5 inches deep," said Schuster. "Fill the container
with an anchoring material such as marbles, small washed river rocks
or something similar. Place the bulbs evenly around the container,
pointed side up. Add enough water so that it is just beneath the
base of the bulbs constantly.
"Do not let the bulbs sit in water
or they will rot."
The container should then be placed
in a cool but very bright location, he noted.
"Too much heat and not enough light
causes weak, stretched-out plants," he said. "It can take from two
to four weeks at this time of year to get the bulbs to bloom. Once
the plants are done blooming, throw the plants away. They are too
worn out to be used again."
[University of Illinois news