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Paperwhites with Heart

This Valentines’ Day give paperwhites with “heart.” Follow these three easy steps to decorate potted paperwhites with a pussy willow stem heart.


  • Paperwhites planted in a 6-inch container
  • (2) fresh pussy willow branches (available at florists)
  • Wired green floral stick (available at florists or craft stores)
  • Red ribbon
  • Decorative container


    1. Insert the wide ends of the pussy willow branches into the soil at an angle so they make a V.

Paperwhites for Valentines

  1. Draw together the upper ends and tie with the wired floral stick.
  2. Pull the floral stick all the way down to the pot and push it into the soil. Insert it at an angle to make it secure.
  3. For a pop of color wrap the willow stems in red ribbon.
  4. That’s all there is to it!

Paperwhites for the Holidays

One of the most enjoyable flowers for blooming indoors during the fall and winter is the paperwhite narcissus.
It’s actually a form of daffodil, so to speak, and it’s a bulb that will produce a living bouquet for your home.
It’s so easy to grow because everything is packaged inside the bulb. All you have to do is add water and nature will do all the work.

You can grow paperwhites in anything – plain water, gravel, potting soil or sand.
When you plant the bulbs make sure the little pointed part is sticking up and you bring the planting medium you use up to the neck of the bulb.
In just a few days roots will sprout and in about 4 or 5 weeks blooms will emerge.

If you pot some up around Thanksgiving you can use them in your holiday decorations.

Good to Know: Speeding up Bloom Time

If the blooms are opening as quickly as you would like place the potted bulbs in a warm room with bright, indirect light to accelerate growth. Be sure to turn the pot every few days to keep the plants from leaning.

Paperwhite Arrangement Project

Paperwhites are a staple in my home in winter.  I buy a big bag of bulbs in fall and pot a few up every week between Thanksgiving and Christmas so that I will have continuous blooms from December through February.

I store paperwhites in my refrigerator until I’m ready to plant them, taking care to keep them separate from fruits such as apples, which emit gases that damages the bulbs.

You can find paperwhite bulbs in almost any garden center. They are pre-cooled so they don’t need the usual chilling time that many of the bulbs you plant outdoors require.   Anyone can grow paperwhites because they are so easy; they’ll thrive in just gravel and water!

One thing you should know about paperwhites is that when they bloom they can become top heavy & need a little support.  This can be done with decorative stakes or by planting the bulbs in a tall clear glass container.  The flowers are held upright and the fragrance floats out of the top.

Tall clear vase for paperwhites

Choose a clear glass vase that is 24-inches or taller.

Decorative stones for anchoring paperwhite bulbs

Add just enough decorative stones to anchor the paperwhite bulbs and give the roots room to grow. I used polished river rock, but any stones will work. Glass beads are nice too.

Drop in the Paperwhite Bulbs

Nestle 4 to 5 paperwhite bulbs among the stones. The pointed end of the bulb is the top; the flat end is where the roots develop.

Pour in the Water

Add just enough water to the vase so that it touches the bottom of the bulbs; do not submerge the bulbs. The moisture will tell the bulb it’s time to grow. Check the water level every week.

The bulbs will begin sprouting seemingly overnight. Place in an area with bright, indirect light when the foliage begins to grow. You can expect flowers to appear within 3 to 6 weeks.