Digital Access

Digital Access
Access newtondailynews.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
News, sports, local and regional entertainment and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Home & Garden

Yard and Garden: Forcing paperwhite narcissus

AMES — Narcissus is a popular flowering bulb typically grown indoors over the winter months. Paperwhite narcissus is a type of narcissus flowering bulb that makes for great home decoration during the holidays. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share information on paperwhite narcissus to help brighten homes this winter. To have additional questions answered, contact Hortline at 515-294-3108 or at hortline@iastate.edu.

How do I force paperwhite narcissus?

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs can be forced in clear, shallow bowls (no drainage holes) or pots.

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 bottoms of the bulbs. Maintain the water at this level throughout the forcing period.

When forcing paperwhites in pots, partially fill the container with potting soil. Place the bulbs on the soil surface. Then add additional potting soil. When potted, the tips of the bulbs should stick above the potting soil. For ease of watering, the level of the potting mix should be half inche to one inch below the rim of the container. Water the potting soil thoroughly. Keep the potting soil moist throughout the forcing period.

Place the planted bulbs in a cool (50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit), dark location for one to two weeks to encourage root growth. When the shoots reach a height of three inches, move the plants to a sunny window with a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees. As the plants continue to grow, staking is often necessary as the plants tend to be rather floppy. Flowering typically occurs three to six weeks after potting. When the paperwhites begin to flower, move the plants from direct sunlight to prolong their bloom period.

What are some paperwhite narcissus varieties?

Paperwhite narcissus cultivars include “Ariel” (white flowers, mild fragrance), “Bethlehem” (creamy white petals, yellow cup, mild musky fragrance), “Chinese Sacred Lily” (white petals, yellow cup, citrus-like fragrance), “Galilee” (pure white flowers, moderate musky fragrance), “Grand Soleil d’Or” (yellow petals, orange cup, sweet fruity fragrance), “Inbal” (white flowers, mild pleasant fragrance), “Wintersun” (white petals, yellow cup, sweet fragrance) and “Ziva” (pure white flowers, strong musky fragrance).

What should I do with
paperwhite narcissus bulbs after they have been forced indoors?

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs should be discarded after flowering. Paperwhites cannot be successfully forced again and are not winter hardy outdoors.

Loading more