- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: fast-growing
- Flowering period: March and April, as early as December if forced
- Hardiness: frost hardy (may need winter protection)
- Bulb size: 14/15
This traditional paperwhite is said to have the strongest scent of all. It can be planted out in sheltered gardens, but it is more often planted up into bulb bowls and 'forcing' to grow early as an indoor plant. The scent is unforgettable.
- Garden care: Wearing gloves plant bulbs 10-15cm deep and 10cm apart in autumn. After flowering feed with a balanced fertiliser, dead-head the flowers, but do not be tempted to cut back or tidy the foliage after flowering as this will interfere with the bulbs ability to store energy for the following year's flowers.
- To force your daffodils: Plant them close together in bowls filled with bulb fibre. Make sure the growing tips are protruding just above the top of the compost. Put them in a cold, dark place, which will encourage the flowering stems and roots to develop before the leaves. Keep the bulb fibre just moist and leave them in the dark for 8 weeks - or until the new shoots are about 4-5cm tall. Once they have reached this height, bring them into a dark room away from bright sunlight. The leaves will gradually turn green and you can slowly increase the light levels as they do. The flowers will soon follow. If you prefer to keep your paperwhites compact, Anna Pavord in her book Bulb tells of experiments at Cornell University, where they discovered that a little alcohol reduced their height by up to 40%. Apparently the best way to tackle it is to stand the pot of paperwhites on a tray of pebbles filled with water, making sure that the bottom of the pot is not standing in water. When the shoots are approximately 5cm high, tip out the water and refill with a mix of 9 parts water to one part hard liquor such as gin, vodka or rum (beer and wine should be avoided).
- Harmful if eaten/skin irritant
“An indoor paperwhite and not hardy enough for the garden, this highly fragrant white narcissi can be wooed into flowering 8 weeks after planting. Plant now as a winter antidote.”
Val Bourne - Garden Writer