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Forcing Paperwhites Narcissus Into Bloom

Brighten and perfume your indoor décor by forcing a few paperwhite bulbs into bloom. 

Fill a shallow container with sterile pea gravel, pebbles or marbles.  Add just enough water to reach the top of the stones.  Place the bulbs on the gravel and add enough additional stones to hold the bulbs in place. Maintain the water level just below the bottom of the bulbs.

Or plant them in a container filled with any well-drained potting mix.  Leave the tops of the bulbs exposed and keep the potting mix moist.

Store the planted bulbs in a cool 45- to 60-degree location while roots develop.  Once leaves appear, move it to a bright location.

Grow paperwhites in a cool sunny location to reduce flopping.  Or once the leaves are 2 inches tall replace the plain water in the pebbles with a mixture of one cup of an 80-proof liquor and seven cups of water.

A bit more information:  Cornell University tested the theory that alcohol would encourage more compact growth on paperwhites.  They found that ethanol (both drinkable and non-drinkable forms) stunt the growth of paperwhites, but too high a concentration could damage the plants.

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