image by Jim Ernsberger/sxc.hu
Paperwhites are related to daffodils and are part of the narcissus family of bulbs. They have bright white flowers on the top of green flower stalks and are attractive as an indoor potted plant. With a four to six week spring blooming period, paperwhite bulbs are most often forced to bloom indoors at mid-winter. They require very little to survive and bloom. Plant in late fall or early winter. They require no cold period to force dormancy, so bulbs bloom within six weeks of planting.
Plant paperwhites in pots full of pebbles; soil is not necessary for them to flourish. Fill a shallow pot or bowl four to six inches deep with pebbles, gravel or glass floral stones.
Nestle the bulbs in the pebbles deep enough so they are supported but so that most of the bulb is above the pebbles. Paperwhites tolerate crowding, so place them close together.
Water the bulbs until the water level is just at the bottom of the bulbs and only the roots are submerged. Deeper water will cause the bulbs to rot. Water as needed to maintain this level.
Place the bulbs in a cool room where temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees F. Choose an area with bright indirect sunlight.
Use 1/4- to 1/3-inch stakes to support stems if they become too tall and have trouble supporting the flowers. Tie the stems to the stakes loosely with plant ties.
Remove spent flowers to prolong healthy blooming. Allow the leaves to die back naturally after the blooming period ends.