Planting Paperwhites in Soil for Forcing // Forcing Narcissus Tazetta ‘Ziva’

Paperwhites, or narcissus tazetta, are also among the many bulbs that I’ll be forcing to grow indoors this winter. Like amaryllis, the process of planting paperwhites for forcing is insanely easy. First, we’ll need to start with a bag of bulbs.

I purchased my bulbs from Longfield Gardens, but I’ve seen them available almost everywhere online. The most common variety that you’ll see is one called ‘Ziva’. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other type. Paperwhites are special in that they are quite different from many members of the narcissus family. They do not require a period of cool before they are able to bloom. According to everything I’ve read, the plant/bulb will die if exposed to temperatures below about 20F.

The first thing that I needed to do was find a pot. I settled on this terra cotta one that I found in the garden center for 50% off. I simply filled the pot 3/4 of the way up with potting soil and then carefully arranged the bulbs making sure that they were not touching each other.

I then added more potting soil until the majority of the bulbs were covered, with the exception of the growing tip. While I’m not sure the planting instructions for paperwhites always mention not to cover the tip, I can only assume that it is help to prevent rot and keep the bulb nice and firm. But really, your guess is as good as mine.

After giving the pot a good watering, I moved it indoors into a cool location. A dark closet in my basement was the perfect spot. The pot will stay there for about 1 week. This will allow the bulbs to start growing. Once growth reaches about 1-2 inches tall, I’ll move the container to a warm sunny windowsill where it will continue to grow and eventually bloom.

Check it out! They included this nice little brochure that was all about helping me learn to grow my paperwhites for the first time! Very helpful. Thank you, Longfield Gardens!

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