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What you need:
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Shallow bowl or pot
  • Gravel or pebbles
Paperwhites are powerfully fragrant Narcissus that are easily forced into bloom indoors. You can pot them in the usual way, or you can force them in water, using pebbles to support the bulbs and give the roots something to cling to.
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Select a bowl that's at least 4" deep. Put a 2-3" layer of pebbles inside.
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Add enough water to reach just below the top of the gravel but no higher. If the bulbs to come in contact with the water they will rot.
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Set the bulbs on top of the gravel. Put the bulbs very close together but not quite touching one another.
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Fill in with additional gravel, leaving the top 1/3 of the bulbs exposed.
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Place the bowl in a cool (50 to 60 degrees F. is ideal), dark place. Check the water every few days and add more as needed.
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After about two weeks, begin to tug gently on the bulbs to see whether they have produced roots. When you feel resistance, you know the bulbs are ready to be brought back into the light.
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Place the bowl in a sunny window. The more light the leaves get, the more compact the plants will be. Paperwhites in low light tend to stretch and may become so top-heavy that they fall over. Check the water daily during active growth and turn the bowl to keep the foliage and stems growing straight. Most Paperwhites bloom 3 to 5 weeks after planting. When they've finished flowering, throw them on the compost pile; they can't be forced into bloom a second time.