Spring blooms during the winter holidays may sound like a daydream, but learning the secret to forcing bulbs to bloom indoors is not magic. It's possible to present delicate paperwhites on your dining room table for the admiration of holiday guests--if you plan ahead.
Determine the time frame in which you wish the bulbs to be in bloom. Count back from that date 3 to 6 weeks--the general forcing time requirement for paperwhite bulbs.
Choose a container with no drainage holes. A clear, shallow container works best for forcing paperwhites.
Wash the pea gravel to remove bacteria. Line the bottom of the container with a layer of pea gravel.
Place the paperwhite bulbs pointed end up with the base sitting on the pea gravel. Nestle them closely together for best effect when bloomed.
Add pea gravel around the bulbs to keep them in place. Do not cover the paperwhite bulbs with gravel, but leave the noses exposed.
Fill the container with just enough water to touch the bottom of the bulbs. During the forcing process, maintain this water level.
Place the container in a dark location at a consistent 50 to 55 degree Farhenheit temperature for up to 3 weeks. Root systems will begin to form at the base of the bulbs.
Shoot will begin to emerge. When these shoots reach 3 inches, move the container into sunlight and a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees.
Stake growing stalks if they are tipping to avoid bending or breakage before flowering. Blooms should occur 3 to 6 weeks after the forcing process is begun.