Paperwhite Narcissus will grow happily and bloom with nothing more than water and stones or beach glass. To “plant” your bulbs in any drainage free container, begin by carefully placing a layer of stones or glass to a depth of about 2 inches for a small container/vase or about 4 inches in a larger container/vase. Next place a layer of Paperwhite bulbs close to each other, roots facing down. Put a few stones or pieces of beach glass around and between the bulbs to anchor them in the container/vase. Leave the tops of the bulbs exposed. Finally, add water until the level reaches just below the base of the bulbs, but no higher (if the bases of the bulbs sit in water, they will rot). Frequently check the water level as the roots begin to grow and add water when needed.
When Paperwhites are forced to bloom indoors, they have a tendency to topple when in flower. You can hold them upright with bulb supports, or tie a nice fancy ribbon around them.
Tip Alert- I have the perfect tip passed on a few years ago from a great customer of ours. When you are setting your paperwhites in stone and water, mix 4 parts water with 1 part clear alcohol (like vodka or gin) This stunts the growth of the plants but does not inhibit the flowers. A perfect recipe for shorter, more manageable paperwhites!
After Paperwhites finish blooming, we recommend that you throw the bulbs out or toss them on the compost pile. They won’t bloom again indoors.
If you don’t want to start your Paperwhites right away or you want to hold some in reserve for a staggered display, store them at room temperature in a dark place. Open the bags or boxes to allow air to circulate around the bulbs.