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Growing and Forcing Paperwhites to Bloom Indoors

Add a little life and a lot of fragrance to your home with paperwhites. 

Start by filling a shallow watertight container with sterile pea gravel, pebbles or marbles. Add just enough water to reach the top of the stones. Place 5 or more bulbs close together on the gravel. Secure by covering the bottom of the bulbs with more pebbles. Maintain the water level just below the bottom of the bulbs.

Place the bulbs in a cool location, 50 to 60 degrees, for several weeks to develop roots. Move to a cool sunny location as soon as leaves appear.

Brighter light and cool temperatures help reduce floppiness. Or try this technique tested by Cornell University. Once the leaves are 2 inches tall replace the plain water with a mixture of one cup 80-proof clear liquor in 7 cups of water.

A bit more information: You can also plant the bulbs in a well-drained potting mix. Use a shallow container with drainage holes. Plant so the tops of the bulbs are exposed. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the potting mix moist, but not wet.

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