Daffodils: just add water

The easiest daffodil to force into bloom is called the ‘Paperwhite’. And its flowers really are as white as paper. Anyone can grow these flower bulbs – and quickly, too. You don’t even need potting compost.

Paperwhites used to be grown only in Israel and southern France. Now, the bulbs are also grown here in the Netherlands. They can’t be planted outside because they would freeze there. They’re real ‘indoor bulbs’.

You can plant them from early October until the end of the year. It takes them just 4 to 6 weeks to produce delightfully fragrant flowers.

  1. Partially fill a shallow bowl (a glass one is best) with gravel.
  2. Place the flower bulbs on top of the gravel. The tops of the flower bulbs should stick up just above the rim of the bowl.
  3. Carefully pour water into the bowl. The surface of the water should just barely touch the bottoms of the flower bulbs.
  4. Then add more gravel. This helps to support the flower bulbs.
  5. Put the bowl right next to the window. This way, you can see what happens every day.
  6. Even after a week, roots and shoots start to emerge. Be sure to keep topping up the water in time.
  7. Then it happens: the clusters of buds start to open. What a beautiful sight! And don’t they smell good!

Keep an eye on the water level, and you can be enjoying your daffodils for about three weeks. When the flowers have finished blooming, you can dispose of them since Paperwhites will not flower the second year.

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