Amaryllis and Paperwhite (narcissus) Bulbs – The Gifts that Keep Giving
Want to give a gift that brings joy and beauty weeks after it is given?
Plant amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs in festive containers. The recipients will experience the wonder of bulbs as it first sends forth leaves, then a budding flower stalk, and finally, the glorious opening of a stunning flower!
These bulbs can also be started using a vase of water with an opening large enough to hold the bulb and allow the roots to just touch the water.
Here’s how to do it:
- Purchase ‘firm to the touch’ bulbs (soft bulbs are beginning to decay and may not grow).
- For amaryllis, you need one bulb per gift. For paperwhites, purchase the number of bulbs which will fill your container when placed side by side.
- Choose container. Either a pot with a drainage hole if planting in soil, a pot without a hole if planting in pebbles, or a wide mouthed vase which will support bulb but allow bottom of bulb to just touch the water.
- To plant in soil: Use a purchased potting soil mix. Fill container (with drainage holes) half way with soil, place bulb(s) on top of soil, continuing adding soil until bulb is half covered with soil. Top half of bulb should be out of soil. Water well.
- To plant in pebbles: Fill container (without drainage holes) half way with pebbles, place bulb(s) on top of pebbles and add additional pebbles to cover bottom half of bulb(s). Add just enough water to reach the very bottom of bulb(s). Do not add too much water, you don’t want the bulb to sit in water.
- To plant in vase of water: Fill vase with water to a level where it will barely touch the bottom of the bulb. Clear vases are fun because you can see the roots grow.
When bloom is over:
Let the lucky recipients of paperwhites know that the bulbs can be planted out in the garden when they finish blooming indoors. Leave the foliage on the bulb so it can produce food for the bulb. They will naturalize (multiply in number and return year after year) in our climate! Their natural bloom time is in the fall and make great cut flowers to bring into the house to enjoy again!
The amaryllis will also bloom again in future years if they are planted in soil in pots and put outside and tended like other potted plants.