How to Force Paperwhite & Amaryllis Bulbs for Christmas Blooms
Paperwhites and amaryllises are classic holiday flowers that display the spirit of the season. If growing paperwhites and amaryllises from a bulb they take 4-6 weeks to bloom; if you forgot to plant the bulbs blooming paperwhites and amaryllis plants are available. Both Christmas flowers make excellent centerpieces since the flowers sit higher, still allowing guests to see each other across the table.
Paperwhites earned their botanical name, Narcissus, based on Greek mythology. Narcissus, infatuated by his own reflection in a pool, stared at himself until the gods turned him into a flower.
Paperwhites have a lovely, sweet fragrance. As the name indicates, the blooms are white to cream colored.
Amaryllis have multiple showy, trumpet-like flowers on thick stems. The long strappy foliage gives this plant prominence without being too wide.
Growing Paperwhite & Amaryllis Bulbs
- Use a shallow dish, bowl or bulb vase and fill it three-quarters full of gravel, pebbles or glass beads – make sure to rinse the filler beforehand.
- Place the bulbs in the filler root side down and add more gravel between the bulbs to anchor them in place.
- Fill the container with water to the bottom of the bulbs and place them in a well lit room; window sills are a great location.
- To keep your bloom stalks from falling over, when the bud has emerged, replace the water with a mixture of half water and half drinking alcohol (gin or vodka work best).
- While maintaining your paperwhites, the most important thing to keep in mind is to never let them dry out. Whether you are tending to them indoors or outdoors, they need to stay fully hydrated in order to thrive.
Homeowners who want to grow their own holiday blooms can find paperwhites and amaryllis bulbs, gravel and planting containers at their local Pike Nurseries store. Our garden experts are always on hand to answer questions and offer helpful assistance.