How to Plant Paperwhite Bulbs


Paperwhites, also called narcissus, are a popular bulb to grow indoors or out because of their early blooming, beauty and ease of care. They adapt well to a range of growing mediums, and can often be found planted in sand, pebbles, soil or soilless potting mixes. Several can be grown in one pot, because of their small size, providing a beautiful indoor or outdoor display.

Step 1

Choose a pot that is the right size for your paperwhite bulbs. It should have drainage holes in the bottom, and should be about 1 1/2 times as tall as the bulbs themselves. Often, 6-inch deep pots that are also wide and shallow prove to be ideal for the tiny flowers.

Step 2

Mix a potting mixture to help the narcissus grow. Mix potting soil and sand in a ratio of 3 to 1--for instance, 3/4 cup potting soil to 1/4 cup sand. Use enough to fill the pot you've chosen. At this stage, also mix in 1 tbsp. of bulb fertilizer for each pot.

Step 3

Fill the pot loosely with the soil mixture and place five or six paperwhite bulbs in one pot, spaced about an inch apart on all sides. Poke the bulbs into the soil so that their tops are just barely covered.

Step 4

Water immediately after planting, but don't drown the bulbs, and don't press down the soil. Water often enough to keep the soil moist until the bulbs begin to sprout. Place new paperwhite bulbs in a well-lit location that is fairly cool, between 50 and 60 degrees F. Outdoors, an ideal location would be on the north or east side of a house, or under a tree with thin branches to allow plenty of light through.

Step 5

Move the paperwhites when they begin to bloom--when the buds start to show color rather than green. Move the pot to a warmer location, about 65 to 70 degrees. Don't bring paperwhites indoors until they have fully bloomed, as they will flop over and become hard to manage.

Things You'll Need

  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Small pot
  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Bulb fertilizer
  • Water


  • Wegman's Nursery: Growing Paper White Bulbs
Keywords: planting bulbs, paperwhites, narcissus care

About this Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.