The Q&A Archives: What Do I Do With Paperwhites?

Question: Hello!
I have received some paperwhites in a glass
jar full of pebbles for Christmas. Now what do I do with them? What I mean is how do I take care of them? I think I over watered them, so there's my first problem. They also keep leaning way over like they will break. Help!

Answer: I'm not sure how you have them planted, so I will describe the ideal and let you work from there as best you can. These bulbs are pretty tough, so don't panic. The bulbs should be planted into the pebbles pointy end up. Wedge them in so that they sit securely but do not bury more them two thirds of their depth into the pebbles. Set them so that their bases are all at the same depth. Add water to the jar so that it is barely beneath the bottom of the bulbs and top it up as needed to keep it at about that level. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of the bulbs or they will rot. In a matter of weeks the bulbs will root down into the pebbles and anchor themselves and the tops will begin to grow. They need good bright light and will grow slower in cooler temperatures, faster in warmer temperatures -- but normal household temperature is fine. In about a month or so they should bloom. If they are tipping over, try to stake them or tie them all together in a loose bundle so they will support each other. Rotate the pot, too, so they don't lean toward the light. Finally, if they seem very tall and no sign of blooming, try a cooler spot say 60 degrees with brighter light. (Sometimes the floor is pretty cool.) Enjoy!

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