How to Plant Paper White Bulbs


Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) are grown indoors not only for the winter beauty they provide, but for the intoxicating scent that fills whatever room you choose to grow them in. Paperwhites are so easy to grow that the most difficult part will be finding an attractive container to plant them in. The container should be at least 4 inches deep and wide enough to contain all the bulbs, laid side-by-side.

Step 1

Place a 2-inch layer of stones on the bottom of the planting container.

Step 2

Arrange the bulbs on top of the stones so that their sides are not touching and the pointed ends face up.

Step 3

Add just enough additional stones to anchor the bulbs in place.

Step 4

Pour water into the container until it reaches just the bottom edge of the bulbs. Place the container in a cool, shady area.

Step 5

Drain the water when the paperwhite bulb roots begin growing and the green shoot is 1 to 2 inches tall.

Step 6

Combine a solution of 10 parts of water and 1 part rubbing alcohol. Pour the solution into the container until the bottom of the bulb is covered. The alcohol, according to Maryanne Spinner, horticulturist with the University of Illinois Extension, will make the stems grow shorter but stronger, and does not affect the flowers. Add more solution as it evaporates.

Step 7

Place the container in a sunny area.

Things You'll Need

  • Stones, glass shards or other decorative gravel material
  • Planting container, at least 4 inches deep
  • Rubbing alcohol


  • University of Illinois Extension: Turning a New Page On Paperwhites
  • University of Vermont Extension: Paperwhites For Winter Bloom
Keywords: plant paperwhite bulbs, grow paperwhite bulbs, paperwhite narcissus

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, providing writing services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.