It was during the Victorian Age that gardeners began their love affair with growing blubs indoors. The sweet scent of paperwhites and the simple elegance of a single amaryllis bloom grown in a glass of water brought the spring garden indoors during the dark days of winter. Even the most novice gardener can plant and enjoy one of nature’s simple pleasures.
Paperwhites do not need a cold storage period. Simply fill a shallow pot (3 to 4 inches deep) halfway with gravel, stones or soil. Choose bulbs that have some green shoots showing. Set the bulbs gently in the growing medium, pack more soil or gravel around the bulbs, leaving the tips visible. Water thoroughly. If planted in water, be sure that the water remains below the base of the bulb.
Place your paperwhites in a cool (50 – 60 º) dark spot for 3 to 4 weeks or until the bulbs have budded. This allows the roots to develop and helps the flower stems to stay shorter and thus less likely to fall over.
Place your container where there is plenty of light and watch them develop into bloom. If the paperwhites do start to fall over, tie them with a raffia bow, support them with some twigs from the garden, or grow them in a tall vase.
Start some this week and you will have blooms for Thanksgiving. Start some every other week and you will have blooms all winter long.