One of the easiest bulbs to coax into bloom indoors is the paperwhite narcissus. Their sweet fragrance and easygoing nature make them a favorite at my house. Depending on the variety the delicate blooms are either pure white, yellow or a combination of both. Clusters of tiny flowers appear on top of tall, bright green stems.

These bulbs do well planted in soil, sand or stones. They will even grow in a bud vase with the base of the bulbs just touching the water.

Late fall and early winter is the time to stock up on paperwhite bulbs if you want a splash of spring in your home during the bleak month of January. My favorite variety is called ‘Ziva’. The petals and cups are white and the fragrance is sweet rather than musky. There are several paperwhite varieties that go beyond the standard white to choose from. Here is a short list.

  • ‘Bethlehem’ – Pale yellow petals with a darker yellow cup. Grows 10 – 12 inches.
  • ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’ – White petals with an orange-yellow cup. Grows 12 – 20 inches and may need staking. Wonderful fragrance.
  • ‘Constantinopol’ – A double form of Chinese Sacred Lily with white petals and an orange-yellow cup.
  • ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ – Yellow petals with an orange cup. Grows 12 – 14 inches. Sweet fragrance.
  • ‘Jerusalem’ – Very large, white petals and cup. Grow 16 – 20 inches. Moderate fragrance.
  • ‘Nazereth’ – Pale yellow petals with a vibrant yellow cup. Grows 10 – 12 inches. Moderate fragrance.
spring flowering bulb
Bloom Time
forced bloom indoors during winter