Narcissus Tazetta - Paperwhites
Paperwhites are available now for indoor forcing. As they come originally from Israel, they don’t need a cold period to bloom. They are one of the quickest of all narcissus to bloom - usually 6-8 weeks. The small delicate white flower clusters are very fragrant and bring the outdoors inside in the dark month period before Christmas. Simply fill a shallow dish, bowl or decorative container with water then add marbles, gravel, decorative rock etc. to keep the bulbs just above water and the place the bare bulbs clustered together. Alternatively plant the bulbs in soil with the nose just protruding and keep it watered well. A covering of moss, addition of twigs are some suggestions to make the arrangement your own.
When the bulbs begin to sprout and the roots are growing place the container in a cool bright room. Often as the leaves and flowers grow tall they flop over. A unique method to counteract this is to dump out the water when the roots are established and the shoots are over 2” tall. Replace the water with a solution of 4-6% alcohol (hard liquor only). This represents 1 part booze to 8 parts water. Keep topping up the level with this solution. This will result in a plant 1/3 shorter. Perhaps an easier and definitely cheaper method is to use rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, in a dilution of 1 part alcohol to 10 parts water. Planting new bulbs every 2-3 weeks will give a wonderful display through the season. Bulbs can only regrow in zones 8-10 with special pretreatment.
Paperwhites are available at Avant Gardener, West Van. Florists and Maple Leaf Gardens in West Vancouver.