There is something about fresh flowers that will always make a house feel like a home to me. But things really take off when the flowers are not only fresh but are also alive and well.
Cue the Christmas paperwhites, also know as narcissus.
These flowers are stunning and delicate and have a simple and clean scent. They brighten up a room and are surprisingly easy to “force” indoors. “Forcing” is an aggressive way of conveying that these bulbs can produce beautiful blooms even in the winter. When potted and nurtured indoors, these bulbs along with hyacinths, lily of the valley, and even tulips can bring color and life to an otherwise dreary winter.
On to the specifics…
CONTAINERS: Pick lovely pots, tureens, bowls, what-have-you. The vase is not only a home for the bulbs but it can also lend itself to your decor style. If you intend to give paperwhites as a hostess gift, then the pot can be repurposed when the bulbs are no longer happy – double the points for you! You should look for pots that are at a minimum 3-5 inches deep.
BULBS: I buy my bulbs after I know what containers I have to work with. This year I purchased my bulbs at Home Depot (50% off!), but they will be at any home store with a garden section. The bulbs can sit fairly close to one another and look much lovelier when they bloom in full, so don’t be shy when purchasing.
PEBBLES: I found crazy inexpensive 3lbs bags of clean pebbles at Hobby Lobby. Again, pebbles can be found at any craft or home good store with a garden section. Pebbles can also be substituted for colored marbles if you’re looking for a bolder statement.
PLANTING: Fill your pot 1/2-3/4 full with pebbles and place the bulbs right on top so they are just almost touching each other. To secure the bulbs, add a bit more pebbles but allow the tip top of the bulb to remain exposed. Add water to the pots until it reaches just the bottom of the bulb. Over watering and allowing the bulb to sit in too much water will cause molding, so be cautious.
GROWING: While the bulbs are taking root, they don’t need light. In fact they prefer cool, dark places. Keep an eye on the water level and once the roots have developed, switch them over to the sun! Place the pot in a sunny spot and this will encourage blooms. The sunny place should be warm, not hot. Too much heat will make the stems flimsy.
MAINTAINING: Once the bulbs have flowered, move them back out of the direct sun as this will elongate the life of the blooms. They will be happiest in medium temperatures and diffused lighting. Based on this description, I think I might have been a paperwhite in another life.
In the next installment, I’ll be tackling how to style your pots of paperwhites for Christmas mantles, holiday tablescapes, or show-stopping gifts.
Do you have a go-to hostess gift or holiday craft? Are any of your go-to’s traditions that have been passed down?