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Paperwhite Bulb Planting Guide

Are you looking for something to keep things bright and fresh all winter long? Well, then Narcissus Paperwhites are for you! Not only are they incredibly easy to plant and grow, but they're also perfect for forcing indoors and grow beautifully through the cold months. Plus, if you need a failsafe gift, we have pre-planted options that everyone will love. Oh, and if the fragrance isn't your jam, no worries—not all varieties emit an aroma. Learn more about all the perks of Paperwhites with our complete guide!

Success Snapshot

PLANTING
DEPTH

Top 1" of bulb exposed indoors; 6" deep outdoors

WATER
QUANTITY

Moderate with growth

SUNLIGHT
QUANTITY

Bright Direct indoors; Full to partial sun outdoors

PLANTING
PROXIMITY

3" Apart

BLOOM
SEASON

Blooms 30-45 indoors/Spring outdoors

HARDINESS
ZONES

Species dependent; Zones 5-10

Where to Plant

Paperwhites are fantastic indoor or outdoor plants that fancy well-drained soil but can also be grown in water and pebbles. Place them indoors near a bright, sunny window or outdoors in a spot that receives full sun.


When to Plant

Paperwhites can be planted outdoors anytime from fall through winter in zones 8 to 10, with flowers arriving in the spring. However, those in cooler climates can also enjoy the blossoms by forcing indoors! We recommend planting a new batch every 2 to 3 weeks from October to January for continuous indoor blooms.


How to Plant in Soil

  • For outdoor landscape planting, find a spot where the soil drains well and your Paperwhites will receive plenty of sun.
  • For container planting, select a shallow container and keep in mind that Paperwhites only need 3 to 4” of space, so a 6” deep container is plenty! Fill the container ⅓ of the way with a well-draining potting mix.
  • Dig holes and plant the bulbs directly next to each other with the pointy ends facing up.
  • Cover the bulbs with soil so that the tips just barely peek out in containers and bury about 5” in the ground.
  • Water until the soil is roughly as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

How to Plant in Pebbles and Water

  • Select a container with tall sides if possible, such as a vase or other type of glass vessel, so that you can watch the roots grow.
  • Pour pebbles or decorative glass stones into the bottom of the container to a depth of 1 to 2”.
  • Add water to the container so it just barely reaches the tops of the pebbles.
  • Place the bulbs on top of the pebbles with the pointy ends facing up so that the bottoms of the bulbs are just barely in contact with the water.
  • Set your container in a bright, sunny area, such as on a windowsill.

How to Grow

  • Keep the soil slightly moist during active growth periods. If planting in pebbles, monitor the water levels routinely, ensuring the bulbs never sit in standing water, which will cause them to mold.
  • Keep the stems straight by rotating your containers daily if growing indoors.

Paperwhite Tips & Tricks

  • Create the most dramatic display by planting in large sweeps or clumps of 7 to 10 bulbs.
  • Pack your containers full if growing in soil, as doing so will create a full display of blooms and reduce the risk of floppy stems.
  • Order pre-planted Paperwhites for spectacular gifts that take the guesswork out of gardening.
  • Add some decorative branches to your indoor containers to serve as a trellis or support for the stems.
  • Be mindful when forcing indoors that you're growing Paperwhites and not a different type of Narcissus.