Who else is trying to keep the kids entertained these days? This schooling at home has it’s ups and downs. if you’re like me, you’re probably always on the lookout for fun, simple projects that have some sort of learning attached to them. Forcing paperwhite bulbs indoors is a great way to share botany with your kids!
Forcing paperwhite bulbs indoors is done in only water and gravel. The kids will be able to see the roots grow, and by the end of it all have a great understanding of how plants work. Fun right?!
What are paperwhites
Narcissus papyraceus (from papyrus and aceus; meaning paper-like).
Narcissus is one of a few species known as paperwhite. It is a perennial bulbous plant native to the Mediterranean region, from Greece to Portugal plus Morocco and Algeria. I mean, I’d be up for a trip to Greece to see paperwhites in their native soil, but since that’s not an option I guess this project will work. 😉
FORCING PAPERWHITE BULBS INDOORS
To force paperwhite bulbs indoors all you needs are the bulbs themselves. (I purchased mine for a few dollars at my local Fred Meyer this spring in the bulb section.) And also pebbles, a tall vase, and water!
That’s it friends! Such an easy project that produces a beautiful reward after a few weeks!
How to force Paperwhites:
My bulbs already had small green stems on them, which showed me they were alive and ready to plant!
Gather together all your supplies. What is it about playing with plants and bulbs that I just find cheerful and uplifting? I think because it’s working with life. I love it!
Carefully place rocks in the bottom of a vase. I used a taller glass vase, because paper whites have long stems, and unless you stunt their growth (more on that below) they will tip over in shorter containers.
Place water just to the tip top of the rocks. You don’t want to submerge the bulbs, just have them sitting in water.
Set bulbs together in a little clump in the center of the vase. I had three, but some groupings may have several more.
That’s it friends! Now to place in a sunny spot on a windowsill or table and watch the magic happen over the next few weeks! After week one you should start seeing roots expanding out from the bulbs. Progress is so fun to watch with these little guys because nothing is hidden. Kids get a kick out of checking daily for growth. And they can usually see it!
- Glass Vase
- Pebble rocks
- Paperwhite bulbs
- Clean glass vase. Place pebble rocks into bottom of vase carfully, a few inches deep.
- Place paperwhite bulbs on top of rocks
- Done! Set in a sunny spot and you should see roots begin to grow over a weeks time.
Paperwhite stems are on the taller side. To shorten the stems, after roots begin to show, remove water and replace with water that has a 5% alcohol content in them. Alcohol such as vodka will work. This inhibits the plants ability to pull in as much water, stunting their growth, but not inhibiting the production of flowers or the life of the plant.
Do Paperwhite bulbs rebloom?
Paperwhites can be grown indoors and forced to bloom.. With the proper care, you can save and preserve paperwhite bulbs to bloom again. However, they do require time to replenish their energy stores, and may not re-bloom for two or three years. In other words, don’t feel bad adding them to the compost after they’ve bloomed!