Stunning perfect cold weather

Stunning perfect cold weather

The easiest bulb to grow at this time of year is the white daffodil. They can be found at garden centers as well as your favorite grocery or big box store.

Some places sell bulbs individually while others will give you several bulbs in kits. If possible, pick your bulbs and look for large, firm bulbs with their brown jackets intact and new growth just emerging at the top. Although there are many types of white daffodils, the specific variety is often not noticed unless you order it from a catalog. There is only one golden yellow variety, ‘Soleil d’Or’.

The number of purchases depends on the size of the pot and the size of the bulbs. Typically 3 to 5 bulbs are placed in a 6-inch shallow bulb pot or regular plant pot. Part of the fun of growing paperwhite plants is that you can be very creative when choosing a container to grow them in. All the energy a bulb needs to produce leaves and flowers is in the bulbs – all you have to add is water.

Paperwhites can be grown in a regular potting mix, such as amaryllis, or in water in a container without drainage holes. When growing for my own pleasure, I often choose to place them in a pot or decorative plant pot with drainage holes. Soilless mix for general houseplants works well with growing media. Fill the pot or bulb container to about one inch from the top. Place them in the bulbs so they are close but not touching, then place additional media around them.

The top quarter or so of the bulb can stick out of the potting media. Keep the media moist but not saturated. When growing them hydroponically, one can be creative with the type of container used – everything from a glass or ceramic pot to a wide-mouth vase or any decorative container that holds water.

The lights will not be placed directly in the water, but rather using small 1/2 inch pebbles, glass marbles, beads, colored stones, water pebbles or other non-porous decorative media, will be placed directly above the water level. However, do not allow water to touch the bulbs; Rotting may also occur.

Clear glass containers allow you to see the water level and root formation, but other waterproof containers will do the trick. Whatever nonporous media you choose, fill your container to within an inch or two of the top. Add water until it is just below the top of the media. Then adjust the white paper bulbs so they are close but not touching. Add more gravel or other media until only the top quarter or so of the bulb is visible. Then, whether planted in a soilless mix or a non-porous medium, such as gravel, place your bulbs in a cool, dimly lit place for a few weeks until roots form.

Check the level every day or so for bulbs growing in water and refill as necessary. After about two weeks, pull the bulbs slightly to see if the roots are established. Once you notice roots, move containers to a bright spot but keep temperatures cool (below 65 degrees F) if possible. Plants will bloom in 3 to 10 weeks depending on the variety. Keep the potting medium moist or the water level even. The white paper bulbs send up 1 to 3 flower stems, each laden with 10 to 20 fragrant flowers.

A common complaint is that the stems become elongated and twist. This is usually due to insufficient light and very high temperatures. The stems can be tied with twine or tied with a decorative plant ring. Planting in a tall, wide-mouthed vase will keep the flower stems upright. Or they can be cut, placed in water, and enjoyed as fragrant cut flowers.

Once the flowers fade, the bulbs can be composted or otherwise disposed of. They will never bloom again. Enjoy the wonderful scent and beautiful blooms while it lasts. Prepare them for your enjoyment or to give as holiday gifts.

If you have questions about planting white paper or about other gardening topics, please feel free to contact us, free of charge, at the UConn Home & Garden Education Center at 877-486-6271, visit our website at Or contact your local Cooperative Extension center.

    (tags for translation)Connecticut

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