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“Indoor Holiday Bulbs” by Dorian Winslow

Category: How-To Projects

Fragrant Paperwhites and Amaryllis are now a part of my Christmas tradition. I like to have paperwhites blooming on Christmas day and I enjoy amaryllis throughout the winter. I stagger the planting so there’s always something blooming. For paperwhites allow 3-5 weeks from planting to blooming. You can extend the bloom time by keeping them in a cool room at night. Otherwise, blossoms can be fleeting.  For Amaryllis, allow 5-8 weeks from planting to bloom time, but each blossom can last for two weeks and one bulb will produce more than one blossom.

Growing Amaryllis— Amaryllis bulbs have the most gorgeous blossoms and will rebloom next year if you follow a few simple instructions (see below) . When planting in potting mix use a container with drainage holes. Leave part of the bulb exposed at the top and water about once a week. The soil should never be completely dry, but you don’t want your bulb sitting in water or it will rot. When planting in stones, select a container without drainage. When watering keep the water level just below the bulb so it reaches the roots only.

Reblooming Next Year— After flower fades cut down the flower stalk and continue to water. Fertilize once a month. You can plant the pot and bulb in the garden during the summer months. In September bring the pot and bulb indoors and start withholding water. Let foliage dry. Store in a cool dark place with no water or fertilizer for 8-10 weeks. In mid November add some fresh soil and start re-watering.

Growing Paperwhites—  I usually plant mine in a glass container filled with stones.  Press your bulbs into the stones nose up, and leave some of the top of the bulb exposed above the stones.  When planting in stones use a container without drainage holes, otherwise the water will drain out immediately and won’t provide a benefit to the roots. Fill the container with water just up to the base of the bulb. The roots will grow into the water. When planting in potting soil use a container with drainage so the roots won’t rot. Keep soil moist. Put in a well-lighted area but not in direct sunlight. Paperwhites are much more difficult to get to rebloom next year, and most people don’t bother trying (myself included).

Stunting Growth with Alcohol  If you are like me and you prefer less “leggy” paperwhites, you may want to follow this recipe for stunting their growth with a nip of alcohol.  For the recipe, which I have tried and it works, go to this site Instead of having paperwhites that are 16-18″ tall, they will grow to be 8-10″ tall.

Each Paperwhite bulb will produce a set of blooms like these

This year for the first time we are selling holiday bulbs on the Womanswork website and in our catalog. They come wrapped in tissue paper inside a handmade burlap bag  tied with a ribbon, suitable for giving as a gardening gift. Complete growing instructions, as well as a coco disk used for planting medium, come with it.

You see? We are indeed more than a garden glove company!

Paperwhites in their burlap bag tied with a ribbon. Only from Womanswork

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