How to Plant Paperwhites


The paperwhite bulb or Paperwhite narcissus is a member of the daffodil family that can be forced indoors without a chilling period. The bulbs develop long green stalks that bear highly fragrant white flowers; new varieties feature white flowers with a yellow center. Plant paperwhite bulbs from December to March to enjoy a burst of flowers in the middle of winter. Once planted, the bulbs take four to eight weeks to flower.

Step 1

Pour 1 to 2 inches of gravel or crushed rock into a container that's free of drainage holes and at least 3 to 4 inches deep.

Step 2

Lay your paperwhite bulbs directly onto the gravel, placing the pointy end up. Colorado State University advises leaving very little space between the bulbs; they can be nearly touching.

Step 3

Scatter additional gravel around the bulbs to hold them in place. Cover up to half of the bulb with gravel.

Step 4

Fill the container with water so the water level rests at the base of the bulbs, with the bulb roots hanging down into the water. If the bulbs themselves are sitting in water they may rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Gravel
  • Container
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Water


  • North Carolina State University: Home Forcing of Potted Paperwhites
  • Colorado State University: Paperwhite Narcissus
Keywords: growing paperwhites, forcing paperwhite bulbs, paper white bulbs

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.