Planting Paperwhite Bulbs


The paperwhite narcissus is a fragrant flowering spring bulb that is popular for a forced bloom during winter. The paperwhite is a subtype of the Tazetta daffodil or narcissus. The flowering bulbs are grown without soil in pots, baskets and vases during the Christmas holiday season. Paperwhite stems can grow 6 to 20 inches high with a large clusters of blooms at the top. They are also a good addition to your spring flower bed or border in zones 3 to 9. You will find that planting paperwhite bulbs will be an easy and rewarding project.

Flower Bed

Step 1

Cover the bottom of a glass or ceramic bowl, vase or shallow dish with soil, pebbles or marbles or a mixture of the three. A tall, clear glass vase is ideal as the paperwhite stems can lean and bend under the weight of the blossoms.

Step 2

Place paperwhite bulbs on top of the soil, pebbles or marbles. Place more of the growing medium around the bottom of the bulbs leaving the tips of them uncovered.

Step 3

Gently pour water into the container until it reaches the bottom of the bulbs.

Step 4

Set the container in a cool, dry place until growth begins. You should see green growth at the tip of the bulb or roots at the base of the bulbs.

Step 5

Place the container in full sunlight on a table, shelf or windowsill when growth is obvious. Keep the bulbs watered while waiting for them to grow and blossom.

Forced Bloom

Step 1

Dig or till the flower bed in an area with well-drained soil, in partial to full sun. Mix in compost, peat moss or well-rotted manure along with bulb booster. Mix very well.

Step 2

Dig a small hole in the soil for each bulb, with a 3-inch space between small bulbs and a 5- to 7-inch space between large bulbs.

Step 3

Set the bulb tip up into the hole. Make sure it is in full contact with soil with no air between bulb bottom and soil.

Step 4

Cover the bulb with soil until the tip is just exposed above the surface.

Step 5

Water the row of bulbs if the soil is dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plants grown from forced blooming bulbs may not blossom out of doors when planted in the garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Garden soil, pebbles or marbles
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Outdoor flower bed
  • Compost
  • Bulb booster


  • Growing narcissus indoors
  • Growing Paperwhite Narcissus
  • Paperwhite Daffodils

Who Can Help

  • Paperwhite Narsissus or Tazetta Daffodil
Keywords: forced blooms, paperwhite narcissus, spring flower bed

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written ad copy and online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Chilldren's Literature course in 1988.