Growing Paper Whites is fun, festive, and super easy! An elegant addition to the Thanksgiving table, a charming companion to Poinsettias for the holidays, or just a bright spot of sunshine to liven up those long gray winter days! Narcissus tazetta is a fragrant flowering bulb related to Daffodils that does not require several weeks of cold temperatures to initiate flowering. With staggered planting times, you can grow these cheerful pure white blooms indoors all winter long.

You can plant the bulbs in the traditional way using soil in a shallow container with a drainage hole in the bottom but I like the simple, clean, modern look that uses stone, gravel, colorful pebbles, or even marbles in a leak-proof glass or bowl. Choose whatever vessel you like, a vase, a shallow bowl, a Ball jar, or maybe a tall apothecary glass.

To use the water and stone method, fill the bottom of your container with 4 to 6 inches of pebbles. Place your bulbs flat side down in a slight depression on top of the rock about an inch apart then add a little bit more stone between the bulbs to keep them from falling over. Pour fresh clean water into the gravel stopping just below the base of the bulb. You do not want the bulb itself to sit in the water! If it does, it will rot. Once planted, keep the bulbs in a cool dark room between 50 and 60 degrees for several days to allow for strong root development. Once the bulbs have developed a nice root system move the container to a cool sunny location and in about four to six weeks you will see the tiny blossoms developing on the flower stems.

Paper Whites have tall thick stems and strappy cool green foliage but sometimes they can become overly tall and floppy mostly due to low levels of light or growing temperatures that are too warm. Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that adding 5% alcohol to the water of your growing plants can help to keep the growth more compact. If you would like to try it, you can use rubbing alcohol or clear liquor. Do not use beer or wine these can damage your plant. Most clear liquors are 40% alcohol (80 proof) while rubbing alcohol is about 70% alcohol so the recipe for each mix is different. Be sure to follow the mixing directions closely because too much alcohol will damage the foliage. If you choose to make a cocktail for your bulbs with clear liquor, mix 7 parts water with one part liquor. With rubbing alcohol use a mix of 1 part alcohol with 10 or 11 parts water. Follow the starting directions above until the shoots on the plant are about 2 inches tall. Then pour off the water and add the alcohol mix replacing it periodically as it evaporates with additional mix. If you follow this recipe your plants will be about one-third shorter but the flowering time will remain the same.

Have fun and Happy Gardening!

As the days get shorter, it’s time to start thinking about what we need to do to overwinter our plants. While your plants have enjoyed being outside this summer, most will need to come in before the temperatures dip below 50 degrees consistently. However, something we often get questions about is overwintering citrus and fig trees, and what extra steps we need to take to make sure they’ll get through the winter season.

Citrus, like most houseplants and tropicals, like to be transitioned slowly back inside. You can move them from out in the full sun to under a tree or a covered porch before moving them completely inside. This will give your plant time to acclimate slowly to the changing temperatures and daylight exposure.

Before bringing your citrus inside, there are a few things you should do:


Figs require a little different care than most citrus or houseplants. Follow these simple steps to keep your figs happy over winter.

As always, we are here to help! If you have any questions about overwintering your plants feel free to email or call us. Happy gardening!