Paperwhite Narcissus, usually just called Paperwhites, are the easiest bulbs to grow indoors. They are a warm-climate bulb and therefore don’t need the cold treatment necessary for the other bulbs. They can be planted in soil in a regular pot but work best in a closed container filled with pebbles. Plant a few every week. Fill the container with water and replenish the water so that the roots never dry out. Do not completely submerge the bulb. Put them in a cool, sunny spot – if grown in the dark, they will get too tall. In about 3-5 weeks, you’ll have clusters of incredibly fragrant white blooms.
Often times, the plant gets too tall and top heavy resulting in floppy foliage. To reduce this issue, research by the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University have proven that a diluted solution of alcohol can reduce growth by 1/3 to 1/2. Wait a week after planting until the root growth is apparent and the plant has grown 1-2 inches above the bulb. Remove the water and add a solution of 4-6% alcohol of any hard liquor. For a 40% distilled spirit ( gin, vodka, whisky, rum, tequila), add 1 part booze to 7 parts water. Do not use beer or wine as the sugar in these beverages may damage the bulb. Isopropyl alcohol works just as well: mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 10 parts of water. The flowers will be just as big, just as fragrant, and just as stunning for this holiday paperwhite tradition!