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There are no doubts, 'PAPERWHITES' are a traditional sign that the holidays are near. These fragrant, December birth flowers can be placed in the entryway to welcome guest with a delightful, sweet smell. Or, they can be given as a gift for the holidays to brighten any room. Although, they are spring flowers, the buds can be forced to bloom inside from about October to January.

How to Force Paperwhite Bulbs:

Paperwhites, also known as Narcissus, can be purchased at most nurseries. If possible, when choosing bulbs, looks for the ones that display a small amount of growth protruding from the top of the bulb. These bulbs will expedite the final project and will be a good indication that the bulb is in good condition. This process will generally take about 3-4 weeks to bloom. You can store extra bulbs in paper bags, in a cool, dark place for later use and to extend blooms for later in the season.

1. Choose a glass, cylinder vase and line it with small pebbles or glass beads.

2. Place several bulbs into the container on top of the pebbles.

3. Add enough water to the container so it will reach the soon to be roots of the bulbs without touching the actual base of the bulb.

4. Keep in a dark place until green shoots appear.

5. Once green shoots appear, place near a suny window.

6. As the plant grows, it will naturally bend and follow the light. In order to keep the plant straight, turn slightly on a daily basis. You can also add a small twig for the plant lean against.

7. Top off the water as needed.

Paperwhites should stay in bloom for approximately three weeks. To make sure your paperwhites last longer, place in a protected area outside during the evening. Once the blossoms die, compost the bulbs as they wont flower again.

For a nice finishing touch, if planting in a regular vase, you can cover the base of the vase and tops of the bulbs with a bright green reindeer moss or bright green or red mini-ornaments.

In lieu of a christmas cookie party, host a DIY Paperwhite party. Provide each guest with a small set of bulbs, a small cylinder vase, small pebbles or glass beads and some holiday cheer. ~Rhonda Rose Floral

Photo credit: Decoramore

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