December 12, 2013

Planting Paperwhites to bloom for Christmas....

Hello everyone, December is flying by and I've been doing a lot of behind the scenes activities in preparation for the holiday season.  This year I was bound and determined to start a new tradition of planting Paperwhites in hopes that they will bloom by Christmas Day.  I got really inspired by this beautiful post from the Stone Gable blog.  

If you'd like to try planting Paperwhites I have found a few tips through my searches that I thought I would share.  To find Paperwhites, you can purchase them in little gift boxes like you see below from your local shops.  My mom and dad brought these home for me one day.  You can also purchase them at your local greenhouse right out of the bin as singles or in bulk.  The kits will usually have a container  and a dry potting soil mixture.  If you buy them from the green house you will need some potting soil or small stones.  
Next up is the fun part...choosing the container for your Paperwhites. You can plant the bulbs in one big container or plant each bulb separately, it's all up to you.  This is the fun part, picking out just the right planter for your Paperwhites.  I went back and forth because I had so many fun options to choose from sitting around my house. Some of my options were galvanized containers, old cooking tins, blue mason jars, sewing machine drawers, milk glass and so many more.  I finally chose an actual planter in a beautiful robin's egg blue color along with some coordinating vases to stick some pine cones in. I've pinned some container ideas on my Christmas Ideas board if you need more inspiration.
I had 5 Paperwhites in my boxed kit so I decided to plant them all in my one planter. When you get them you'll see that the bulbs may have begun to sprout.  This is good because the bulbs have been forced and are ready to grow.  The rest of the bulbs will have dry skins like onions.
For your container, you'll need to determine how deep you'll plant the bulbs.  You want the dirt or pebble level to be almost to the top of your container.  I used some large rocks from my driveway to fill most of my planter first.  No need to waste potting soil.  The rocks also help for drainage.
Next I dumped in my potting soil mixture.  You can see that it's about 1" from the top of the container.  I then just plopped in my Paperwhite bulbs, pushing them into the soil just a little bit.  All the Paperwhites need is just a place for the roots to make contact.  You don't need to put soil or pebbles up around the bulbs much.  They're part of the pretty holiday display so don't cover them up.
That's it, now they're ready to grow and grow and grow.  I wet my soil to begin with and then all you need to do is keep the soil damp.  I created this little ensemble of planters, complete with pinecones, feathers, deer antlers and a pretty pinecone plate from the thrift store.  I placed them all on top of my large wood base that my sister gave to me.  I have this all sitting next to my window which has wonderful diffused, natural lighting.  You don't want bright, direct sunlight for your Paperwhites.  They also like it cold so if you can put them in a cold room at night for a sleepover if you prefer.
Now the fun begins.  Your Paperwhites should start to sprout the very next day.  I decided to take a photo of my Paperwhites once a week to record their growth progress in my December Memories album.  I planted my Paperwhites on Thanksgiving as that is when I read to plant them to have them bloom for Christmas.  We'll see.  The photo below shows one week of growth.
This photo shows my Paperwhites after two weeks of growth.  I'm so absolutely thrilled that I'm tending to flowers in the middle of Winter.  Next year I'll probably have a whole indoor garden of Paperwhites, knowing how much I love flowers.
I hope you're inspired to give Paperwhites a try.  I think this would be a great idea for the kiddos too...plant them near Thanksgiving Day for Christmas blooms.  I'll be sure to update the blog with more progress photos.

Edit:  I'll be adding something fun to my Paperwhite planter once they're close to blooming.  I need to make a trip out to the timber with Charlie for that one.  Stay tuned.

Edit:  This set of milk glass dishes is up for sale in my shop.  I almost used these for my Paperwhites this year.  The pretty white of the glass with the white blooms would look so delicate.  You could probably use 5-6 bulbs for this collection.  Idea: spray paint twigs white to hold the blooms upright once they get really tall.

Thanks for stopping by today....and as always, I so appreciate those of you who leave nice comments.  :)


Shan said...

I very much want to try this next year with my kiddos. We will most likely be in a different house by then, so a new tradition will be good. My kids are desperately attached to our house now. I bought a mini live pine tree for the kids around Christmas time and they have enjoyed decorating it and watering it. I will be on the lookout for some fabulous planters for next year!

Anonymous said...

I love indoor blooms in the winter as well. We have done paper whites in the past but the last few years we have done an amaryllis. Your posts are so inspiring. I have been trying to do a Dec. daily with the help of your posts. Thanks!

Susan said...

Glad you reminded me about paperwhites. They are fun. Your idea to have something to prop them up with when they get tall is a good one; they can flop over.

I LOVE your cards! Thanks for a great blog!

Dawn F. said...

Beautiful! I want to try this next year. Thanks for sharing your information.

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