Grow Paperwhites Like the Pros


paperwhites christmasUp your gardening game this Christmas and grow paperwhites like the pros at the garden centers. Click To Tweet

Up your gardening game this Christmas and grow paperwhites like the pros at the garden centers.

How can I think about Christmas when the marigold and burnt rust leaves still cling to our sycamore tree?  Clusters of scarlet Aronia berries weigh heavily on the branches patiently awaiting their harvest for jams and juice.  Early autumn mornings here in the Mid-Atlantic, the transient Canada geese fly in their formation over newly harvested crops.  From my kitchen window I watch them as they land for a dawn respite in the pond adjacent to our wheat field.

Some mornings I sip my coffee on my back porch and watch with intrigue as the squirrels feverishly gather acorns, which reminds me to do my own seasonal planning.  Even though it will be bleak outside soon, you can bring color and fragrance indoors by forcing winter blooms.

Fresh and Festive

A container of forced paperwhites exudes elegance. A bouquet of these delicate, white blossoms serve as a frugal and green centerpiece on a dining room table or side buffet.  Then again, you can dust off your vintage crockery or unveil your favorite flea-market find and showcase them with paperwhites.

This year, my containers of choice are a saffron family heirloom bowl for the farm table in our kitchen.   In our dining room,  paperwhite will adorn the scarlet rimmed enamelware basin my great-grandmother used for washing her dishes back in the day when a hand pump served as the kitchen plumbing.

My living room decor always follows an English garden theme probably because I am an unabashed Anglophile. I plan to drape a red and white gingham holiday bunting across the length of the mantel and grace the fireplace mantel shelf with a weathered galvanized container full of paperwhites mixed with stems of winterberry.


paper whites, gift, gardening

Paperwhites, the perfect gift

White Flower Farm expresses the beauty of paperwhites, “Nothing matches the crisp, fragrant blossoms of Paperwhite Narcissus for their ability to banish the winter doldrums.”

The gift of a cluster of sweet aromatic flowers with a hint of spicy offers a seasonal reprieve as the late afternoons wither and the dark pierces the days.

To assemble the paperwhite gift includes the following:

Print your free gift tag with planting instructions. Use it to embellish a gift bag for a special friend.

paperwhites gift tag

Growing Your Paperwhites


  1. Place soil just to the rim of your container.
  2. Place bulbs in soil, roots down in the soil. Space your bulbs closely together.  Add enough mix to cover the necks of the bulbs but leave the tips exposed.
  3. Water the soil thoroughly, but don’t over water.
  4. Place your container in a cool place (50° to 60°).
  5. Check your bulbs daily, water when the soil is dry (soggy soil will cause the bulbs to rot).
  6. (Optional) when bulbs gain a little height spread the sheet moss on top of the soil.
  7. When flowers begin to topple, stake them upright with twine.
  8. After the bulbs finish blooming then compost them or toss in a field.

Scents and Sensibility

For Christmas assemble this DIY paperwhites gift and bolster a loved one’s winter sanity.  Studies claim over and over how plants help reduce stress and improve mood. Forcing Paperwhites does not require a green thumb just a little TLC so that anyone can give this project a try.

Reclaim the art of gift giving by crafting a sustainably minded, frugal present like a potful of paperwhites.  You can personalize the gift with a hand-painted pot or bowl.

What are other ways you can showcase paperwhites this Christmas? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below!

(Psst, this post contains affiliate links which means that I make a morsel, and I mean a morsel from the products that I link.  You are NOT charged additional fees when you purchase products from this site. In reality, you help me fund this site when you do buy products from links that I post.  I humbly and sincerely thank you if you click and make a purchase.)

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  1. marnie on November 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Hi Denise,
    Thanks for the info! You are so right! It is so lovely to smell paperwhites in your home during the winter. I am inspired to plant. Thankyou!

    • Denise Sultenfuss on November 8, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Marnie, thanks for stopping by the blog today. The paperwhites post is a teaser for an upcoming Christmas ebook. Stay tuned!

  2. Karin Peters on November 8, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I’ve been thinking about some of the things I love most about Christmas and forced paperwhites are one of them. My grandfather had them every year and when I smell them – I smell Christmas!

    • Denise Sultenfuss on November 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Me too Karin. The scent of paperwhites fill the room with a fragrant elegance.

  3. Stephanie Lynn Smith on November 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    What a lovely and creative gift idea! Perfect for the minimalist too! I am pinning this for my next trip to the garden store (I just started my own compost bin!). I love your writing style.

    • Denise Sultenfuss on November 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Stephanie, I am glad you were inspired. Now get planting!

  4. Gem on November 9, 2017 at 3:22 am

    What a wonderful gift idea! Also, I really enjoyed your story telling, I felt like I could smell them too!

  5. on November 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    I love the idea of gifting flowers. I’ve not tried paperwhites yet, but i have gifted Amaryllis and they’re always so well received! Maybe ill have to hunt down some paperwhites this year. Thanks for the helpful post!

    • Denise Sultenfuss on November 11, 2017 at 7:57 am

      They are so festive this time of year when gardens are dormant. They offer an all natural room fragrance too.

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