The Q&A Archives: Forcing Paperwhites

Question: I am having mixed results with the paperwhite bulbs I am forcing. The bulbs I've attempted to grow only in stone, don't appear to be growing, while bulbs grown in soil are having extremely varied results. (Some are growing slowly, while others in the same pot are growing quickly.) What are the possible causes and solutions? Should I use a specific fertilizer for bulbs? What are the preferred light conditions? (all are in medium to bright light.) Thanks for your help

Answer: Here are general instructions for forcing paper whites: Fill a pot or bowl-one without a drainage hole-to within 2 inches of the rim with pebbles. Fill the pot with water. Bury the bottom quarter of the bulb, keeping its base above the water line. Set the container in a cool (~50 degrees F) dark place for several weeks. Keep the water level just beneath the base of the bulb, but not touching it. Keep the roots in water as the bulbs begin to sprout. When pale green shoots get 3-4 inches tall, movethe pot to the bright indirect light of a north window for 3-4 days. Then set the pot in sun and move it back to indirect light when the flowers open. Do not fertilize. Discard bulbs after flowering. For bulbs planted in media, enrich the media with 5-10-5 at the rate of 1 tsp/quart of soil. Fill the pot to within 1-3 inches of the rim (leave enough room for covering the bulbs) and add water. Place bulbs on the soil 1/2 inch apart and add more soil until only the tips of the bulbs show. Waterthoroughly. Place them in a cool (35-45 degrees F) dark place for several weeks until the bulbs begin to sprout, then follow the light procedure above. Let the leaves grow to maturity for fall planting. The only explanation for the inconsistency in growth may be that the bulbs themselves were not consistent in the amount of energy resources allocated for growth. The larger the bulb, the greater resources there are for growth. Any variation in size amoung the bulbs might account for the variation ingrowth. They might also have varied in the length of cold they required for breaking dormancy. Sounds like you got an inconsistent lot of bulbs..

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Sempervivum Henry Carrevon"