Drunken Paperwhites are simply Paperwhites Narcissus with a shot of alcohol. Usually just called Paperwhites, these are the easiest bulbs to grow indoors. Paperwhite can grow to be quite tall and top-heavy, resulting in floppy foliage and drooping flowers. To prevent this from happening simply get your paperwhites “drunk.”
The Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University has proven that a diluted alcohol solution can reduce paperwhites’ growth by 1/3 to 1/2. This helps maintain the structure of the paperwhite, without any damaging effect to the plants.
How to make Drunken Paperwhites:
- Wait a week after planting until the root growth is apparent and the plant has grown 1-2 inches above the bulb.
- Select alcohol of your choice. Make sure it’s 40% distilled spirits like gin, vodka, whiskey, rum, or tequila. Note: Isopropyl alcohol works just as well.
- Mix one part of alcohol with seven parts of water. Example: 1 cup of alcohol with 7 cups of water. Do not use beer or wine as the sugar in these beverages may damage the bulb.
- Continue to use the alcohol solution for future watering.
Making sure the alcohol content is less than 10 percent is important. That way your plants will overdose, and severe growth problems will occur. Check the bottle for the percentage of alcohol. Most distilled liquors are only labeled as “proof,” which is not the percentage of alcohol. Do not confuse the two. To determine what percentage of alcohol you have, divide the proof in half. For example, 86 proof bourbon is 43 percent alcohol.
In doing Adding alcohol will not affect the flower blooms, and they will be just as big, fragrant, and stunning for this holiday paperwhite tradition!