Paperwhites Make Great Holiday Gifts!
Want to give the gift of flowers during the holidays? Send some cheer to a friend during the long winter? Paperwhites are easy to grow and make great gifts. You can find pre-planted gifts, paperwhites in gift bags for an affordable DIY option, and bulk paperwhites suitable for making a splash or dividing up and distributing to multiple recipients.
And because they are alive, paperwhites offer the promise of spring in the dead of winter, complete with fresh green growth, plump buds and fragrant multi-flower blooms.
Which paperwhites to gift?
There aren't TONS of paperwhite choices, but there are a few, so choose wisely! We recommend the 17+ cm size bulbs for forcing indoors. They'll give you the biggest flower display.
Zivas are the absolute fastest to flower, but there are several other choices for varying color and scent.
Wintersun paperwhite bulbs have cheerful yellow centers.
If you want to make up your own gifts, and you have a lot of recipients, consider buying in bulk and dividing up the bulbs among multiple packages and containers.
Inball paperwhites are slightly less fragrant (which can be a good thing) than the traditional Zivas. (Good choice for teacher, hospital, or office gifts.)
DIY Paperwhite Gifts
When you've made your bulb selection, it's time to get creative! Here are some examples of fun DIY paperwhite gifts.
Card shops carry sturdy handled gift bags in oodles of sizes and designs. The sky's the limit here. Add contrasting tissue paper with the ends spiking out of the top of the bag. Voila! - instant festivities.
These lightweight, see through bags lend themselves beautifully to flower bulb gift packaging. Just add a sheet or two of brightly colored tissue and cinch the bag at the neck with curly, grosgrain or fabric ribbon or even sparkly, wired trim.
For coworkers who start each morning with an invigorating jolt of Columbian or Earl Gray, a new mug will be an appreciated gift. Tuck three or four paperwhite bulbs inside, embellish the handle with ribbons, and add a set of growing instructions in the bottom of the mug. Soon your office buddies will have snappy new ways to savor their morning coffee or tea and fragrant blooms on the corners of their desks.
Antique or unusual bowls
Whether Limoge, McCoy or just a pretty treasure from an estate sale, bowls of glass, china, stoneware and even non-rusting metal are all excellent choices. And because these are often one of a kind finds, your gifts will be, too.
Use your imagination and you'll discover that large gravy boats, small ice buckets, baskets with waterproof liners and wide mouth vases all present opportunities to create personalized gifts. Look in the back of your kitchen cabinets and on the shelves in the basement - you may find something fun that's the right size and shape. Give that celadon green Asian bowl, the one that doesn't match anything in your home, to your friend who just returned from a trip to China.
Long, slender paper or fabric wine bags will happily hold a generous gift of 10-15 paperwhite bulbs. Image the surprise when your recipient realizes that there's fragrant flowers-to-be inside, rather than another bottle of Merlot.
Insider Tips for Paperwhite Gifts
- If you plan to ship live bulbs on your own, check the weather. Look at the temperatures in your town, the recipeient's town, and the area the bulbs will likely travel through to get to your gift recipient. Most shippers'; warehouses aren't heated and these tender bulbs can freeze. For safety's sake, don't ship when temperatures are below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Refrain from storing bulbs in the refrigerator. The gases that fruits and some vegetable emit during ripening will kill the immature flowers sleeping inside your bulbs. Paperwhites can be kept at room temperature for 4-8 weeks, lasting longer at cooler tempratures.
How to Grow Paperwhites
How to Grow Paperwhites in Water
- Fill a shallow bowl with pebbles about 1 inch deep.
- Add water so the water just barely reaches the tops of the pebbles.
- Set bulbs on top of the pebbles and wait for them to grow!
- Keep the water level about even with the tops of the pebbles.
How to Grow Paperwhites in Soil
- Fill a shallow bowl or pot with a drainage hole halfway with soil.
- Place the bulbs in the pot.
- Cover all but the tips of the bulbs with soil.
- Water so that the soil is about as moist as a wrung-out sponge and keep it that moist as the bulbs grow.
For more information about how to grow paperwhites visit our paperwhite planting guide.
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- Artur Bobinski