Paperwhite Narcissus, with its delicate white flowers and sweet fragrance, is a popular choice for indoor and outdoor gardens. In this expert guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of growing Paperwhite Narcissus successfully, drawing on recommendations from horticultural experts and trusted government and academic sources.

Selecting Paperwhite Narcissus Bulbs

Expert Recommendation

Choose healthy Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs with no signs of rot or damage. Larger bulbs typically produce more flowers.

Government Reference

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides guidelines for selecting flower bulbs and ensuring their quality.

Choosing the Right Container

Expert Recommendation

Select a container with good drainage, such as a pot or shallow dish. Ensure the container is deep enough to accommodate the bulb’s roots.

Government Reference

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) offers advice on container selection for different types of bulbs. 2

Preparing the Planting Medium

Expert Recommendation

Use well-draining potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and sand to create an ideal planting medium for Paperwhite Narcissus.

Government Reference

The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources provides guidance on preparing potting mix for container gardening.

Planting Paperwhite Narcissus Bulbs

Expert Recommendation

Plant the bulbs with their pointed ends facing upward, leaving about an inch of space between each bulb. Ensure they are covered with soil to a depth equal to about twice the height of the bulb.

Government Reference

The United States National Park Service offers advice on planting bulbs for spring and winter blooms.

Providing Adequate Light and Temperature

Expert Recommendation

Paperwhite Narcissus requires bright, indirect light to thrive. Maintain a temperature of around 50-60°F (10-15°C) for successful growth.

Government Reference

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) provides information on ideal temperature conditions for forcing bulbs like Paperwhite Narcissus.

Watering and Maintenance

Expert Recommendation

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid letting the bulbs sit in standing water. Fertilization is generally not required for Paperwhite Narcissus.

Government Reference

The University of Florida IFAS Extension offers advice on watering indoor plants and preventing overwatering.

Supporting Growth and Blooming

Expert Recommendation

As the stems grow, you may need to provide support with stakes or twine to prevent flopping. After flowering, remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

Government Reference

The United States Botanic Garden provides information on staking and caring for tall indoor plants.

Forcing Paperwhite Narcissus Indoors

Expert Recommendation

If you want to force Paperwhite Narcissus to bloom indoors during the winter, follow a chilling period (cold stratification) and then place the bulbs in a cool, brightly lit location.

Government Reference

The University of Vermont Extension offers information on forcing bulbs for indoor blooms.

When is the best time to plant Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs?

Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs are typically planted in the fall for outdoor blooming but can be forced indoors for winter blooms.

Can Paperwhite Narcissus be grown in containers indoors?

Yes, Paperwhite Narcissus can be grown in containers indoors and forced to bloom during the winter months.

Do Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs require pre-chilling for indoor forcing?

For indoor forcing, Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs do not need pre-chilling. They can be planted directly in containers and encouraged to bloom.

How deep should Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs be planted in containers or the garden?

Plant Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs with their pointed ends facing upward, to a depth equal to about twice the height of the bulb.

What kind of soil is suitable for planting Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs?

Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs thrive in well-draining potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and sand.

What type of light do Paperwhite Narcissus plants require?

Paperwhite Narcissus plants need bright, indirect light to grow successfully, whether indoors or outdoors.

How often should I water Paperwhite Narcissus plants?

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Ensure proper drainage to avoid water stagnation.

Do Paperwhite Narcissus plants need to be fertilized?

In general, Paperwhite Narcissus plants do not require fertilization. They can derive the nutrients they need from the bulbs.

Can I save and replant Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs for future growth?

Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs can be saved and replanted, although their vitality may decrease over time.

How long can I expect Paperwhite Narcissus blooms to last once they’ve flowered?

Paperwhite Narcissus blooms typically last for a few weeks, depending on care conditions and temperature.