Tuesday, November 8, 2011

paperwhite project

people with black thumbs and green thumbs unite.  you can all do this.  i will never forget one of the first times i went to my friend lindsay's house.  it was for a christmas play date when my daughter was a little older than a year and a half.  i actually think i showed up a day early accidentally.  remember that lindsay?!  i showed up all dressed up, got my baby girl all dressed up early in the morning and lindsay answered the door in her pajamas.  i remember thinking to myself, she better get in the shower because the rest of her guests are going to be here soon.  ha!  i'm very unorganized and do things like this on a regular basis.  thankfully i have lindsay to keep me on track, like reminding me that our kids had a piano recital last sunday... the thursday before.  oops!

anyhow, lindsay's house was filled with paperwhites the day of the actual play date.  they were everywhere.  they were beautiful.  i thought, this girl and i are going to have a lot in common.  she likes to garden just like me!

lindsay doesn't really like to garden.  i mean, not like i do anyway.  she can grow beautiful house plants  and can appreciate a beautiful garden but she doesn't have the itch to get her hands dirty and to work in the yard like i do, but she taught me how to grow paperwhites.

in the past few years since that play date i have grown paperwhites for christmas and this year is no exception.  they smell good and they are really cheap decorations.  every year i try growing them differently.  and this year i'm trying two different versions.  these grow so quickly it's literally like you are watching them grow.  so far the ones that are growing the quickest are growing in containers that DO NOT have a hole in the bottom, filled completely with pea gravel.  pea gravel is ugly, but it is cheap and as you get closer to putting these out for decorations you can top the pea gravel with moss or decorative rock.

you want to almost cover the bulbs with the rocks but you need to leave a little bit sticking out so they can bloom.

here we are, week two.  the two white containers are doing better than the one to the right.  the one to the right is filled with a combination of potting soil and pea gravel.

this is the first year i am trying to grow these outside.  they do really well indoors though.  i also have planted them early because i'm going to be selling them at a craft fair the first weekend in december (more on that soon).  i will plant these in waves so i can have them blooming throughout the month of december.

you can grow these in any type of container, just needs to be pretty deep as the roots of the bulbs get pretty long.  the ones i'm going to sell are in the cheapest, ugly, plastic containers because i plan on wrapping them in burlap and tying a jute or maybe a tartan bow around them.

you need to keep the water level pretty high on these also.  you should be able to see the water at the base of the bulbs.  i'll take pictures along the way so you can watch their progress.  this is also really fun for kids because they grow so fast and they love to check their progress.  if you have any questions please feel free to email me and i'll do my best to answer.  this a great way to turn your black thumb green and a nice way to bring the outdoors in.

happy planting,


  1. Oh fun! I really want to do this! I love growing things (even through I'm better at killing plants than growing them)

    - Sarah

  2. if there's one thing my mom taught me for christmas, it's how to grow a paperwhite and make strong eggnog. i'm honored to be mentioned in your blog and i wish you a successful paperwhite season.... which reminds me that i need to buy my bulbs asap!...

  3. and yes... i do remember the day you showed up a day early. i thought i was losing my mind and didn't know when my own play date was.
    since i saw this post earlier i keep thinking i smell paperwhites in my house. it's like the ghost of paperwhites past have come to visit. i gotta get my bulbs!

  4. no joke, I've been known to kill succulents. But I love the look of paperwhites. They say "holiday" to me- will attempt to give this a shot. And I love your hobnail container! I collect the white hobnail milk glass :)

  5. I just started my paperwhites on Monday! I put some in little bowls and some in colorful giant italian tomato cans for the kitchen (hopefully those will look cute.) I love the smell of them for the holidays.
    Just found you and am now following!

  6. Erin- you can do this, especially if you kill succulents. You probably killed them from over watering and paperwhites drink a ton of water, so it's a perfect fit!

    Ashlyn- I love the idea of planting them in giant tomato cans! That will be adorable. I need to find some more creative containers to grow mine in.

  7. I found your lovely blog through Seagrass Interiors. Love the room she did for you! So perfect! Looking forward to following along.

  8. I'm so impressed! I'm such a black thumb myself. You make it look so easy!

  9. Love you paperwhites in all different containers...great photos!

  10. * Hi! Just found you thru "Lindsay's" blog, re the paperwhites... (that's one of the fun things about being addicted to design blogs... I just go everywhere these days & it seems I ALWAYS find things which are of great interest to me!!!)...

    THANK YOU for the tips... I have purched about 50 bulbs each of the last two years, and NEVER "PLANBTED" them... am I craaaazeee of what??? (THEN, I fiiiinally planted some & NONE bloomed... they were toooooo old!!!). I had just gotten sooo busy, kept saying I'd DO it, and my excuses go on n' on... ANYHOO, I SWORE I would do those luscious white lovelies this year and yet I am SO LATE!!!

    BUUUT, THANKS to you, I'm going to do it all anyway~~~!!!

    Warmest wishes & big thanks,

    Linda in AZ *

  11. *** Plz excuse the typos... it's past 11:30 & I'm rushing, as I should have been in bed a long time ago~~~ hubby & dawg got tired of waiting for me, but, well, it IS the holidays, and there's soooo much to do!!!! (Men have is SOOOO easy, huh?!?!?! Smiles!!!)... Thanks again, Linda ****

  12. Had not kept up on my reader in some time, and am SO inspired by your blog today!! Thank you for the great ideas!!!