The botanical name of Paperwhites is Narcissus papyraceus and the plants are flowering bulbs that are known for their fragrant clusters of tiny white, yellow, or orange flowers. Also the narcissus genus actually includes jonquils and daffodils. The paperwhite plant can be force to bloom indoors in the winter anywhere, or the bulbs can be planted outdoors in fall to grow as a spring perennial in certain regions. The forced Paperwhites bulbs that are planted in pots or in water-filled vases are a traditional holiday gift plant. The following are the basic information about Paperwhites flowers;

The common name: The common names are tazetta Paperwhite, paperwhite narcissus, paperwhite daffodil.

The scientific name:  The scientific name is Narcissus papyraceus.

The family: Paperwhites belong to Amaryllidaceae family.

The plant type: Paperwhite is perennial bulb.

The mature size: The mature size is about eight to thirty inches tall and six to twelve inches wide.

The sun exposure: Paperwhite plants prefer full, partial shade.

The soil type: Paperwhite plants do well in a well-drained soil.

The soil pH: Acidic

 The blooming time: The blooming time is winter, Spring.

The flower color: The flower colors are white, yellow, and orange.

USDA hardiness zones: Eight to eleven.

 The native area: Paperwhite plants are native to Southern Europe.

Plant toxicity: Paperwhite plants are toxic to dogs, humans, cats, and horses. 

Different types of Paperwhite

There are different varieties of Paperwhites. The following are the different types of Paperwhites varieties;

-         The 'Ziva' variety: The 'Ziva' variety is a popular variety and is valued for its prolific, pure-white flowers and musky aroma.

-         The 'Ariel' variety: The 'Ariel' variety is a more compact paperwhite, this particular variety is known for its early blooms.

-         The 'Chinese Sacred Lily' variety: The 'Chinese Sacred Lily' variety is native to China and it has flowers with buttery-yellow cups against white petals and it also has a citrusy scent.

-         The 'Grand Soleil d'Or' variety: This particular variety takes time to blooms, the 'Grand Soleil d'Or' variety pops with cheery yellow petals centered on orange cups.   

-         The 'Nir' variety: The 'Nir' variety is an early-blooming, all-white cultivar with even more flowers per stem than 'Ziva' varieties.

How to grow Paperwhite Bulbs

The Paperwhite plants need direct light before they bloom, then you can easily move them to a spot with indirect light.

You need to plant the paperwhite bulbs in a well-drained potting mix or you can grow them in water using pebbles or gravel.

Make sure you water the potted paperwhites when the top inch of soil has dried out.

You can skip fertilizing if you are forcing the paperwhite bulbs indoors.

Light requirement

For forced Paperwhites plants in winter you can easily start with the paperwhite bulbs in a place with bright, direct sunlight, such as a south-facing window. When the paperwhite plants begin to bloom, you can easily move the plant to a cool place with indirect light. This will help the plant extend the bloom period. The Paperwhite bulbs that are actually planted outdoors in warm regions can grow well in full sun or part shade.

Soil requirement

You can easily force the paperwhite bulbs by planting the paperwhite bulbs in a typical plant pot with drainage holes using a standard houseplant potting mix. You can leave the top of the paperwhite bulbs above the soil line. You can also force the paperwhite bulbs by placing the paperwhite bulb in a glass vase or dish filled with 1 to 2 inches of clean pebbles or gravel. Place the paperwhite bulbs on top of the stones, and then add more stones over and around the paperwhite bulbs to hold them in place with the tops still visible. You can add water just to the base of the paperwhite bulbs so the roots are submerged.

Water requirement

You need to water the potted indoor paperwhites when the top inch of the soil has dried out. If you are forcing the paperwhite flowers in water, you can easily add water as needed to maintain the water level at the base of the paperwhite bulbs.

Temperature and humidity requirement

Immediately the paperwhites flower, cooler temperatures will actually help to preserve blooms. You can move the paperwhite plants to the coolest place in your home with indirect light after the flowers appear. The paperwhite bulbs do not actually require a chilling period the way some other plant bulbs do. Paperwhite plants are Mediterranean native plants that actually require hot, dry summers to bloom repeatedly as outdoor perennials. A lot of gardeners in states like New Mexico, California, and Texas tend to have the most success with planting paperwhite bulbs outdoors for this reason.

Fertilizer requirement

Actually there is really no need to fertilize forced paperwhite bulbs, since this growing process is designed to be used for only one bloom period. For the paperwhite bulbs that are planted outdoors in appropriate regions, while it is possible to plant forced paperwhite bulbs outdoors after they flower, it may take the paperwhite plants a few years to replenish their energy stores enough to flower again.

How to propagate Paperwhites

Actually the paperwhite bulbs are typically purchased new each year for indoor forcing, though the paperwhite bulbs may be able to grow as outdoor perennials in certain warm regions. While it is possible to collect the paperwhite seeds after the paperwhite plants flower, the paperwhite plants germinated from seed can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to mature.

Getting Paperwhite Plant to Bloom

The paperwhite plants will bloom more quickly the longer they are stored. Unlike hyacinth plants, the paperwhite plants do not require a chilling period to bloom, so there is no need to refrigerate the paperwhite bulbs before planting. Be expecting to wait several weeks longer for blooms if you plant the paperwhite bulbs in November than if you plant the paperwhite bulbs in January. The paperwhite Bulbs actually require a growing medium such as a potting mix or small stones, bright light, and water to germinate. Brightly lit conditions will really support faster blooming.

Paperwhite Bloom Months

The paperwhite plants actually bloom in winter and spring, although it depends on when they are planted. The paperwhite bulbs are often planted in November for December blooms. It actually depends on the variety you are planting, the time of year, and the growing conditions, the paperwhite plants can bloom in around 4 to 6 weeks, although some varieties of paperwhite can take longer.

Pest control on Paperwhites

Paperwhites plants are like any other perennial bulbs that also face some pest challenges. The following are some of the pests that attack paperwhite plants:

-         Scale insects on Paperwhites: Actually scales are insects which are seen as the clingy pests of the plant world, displaying waxy bumps on the stems and leaves of paperwhite plants. These bumps on the stems and on the leaves are the scale insects armor, making it very difficult to remove.

-         Mealybugs on Paperwhites: Mealybugs are insects that attack Paperwhites and they leave a cottony residue as they feast on the Paperwhite plant's sap, leading to stunted growth and general plant unhappiness. Just look for them and apply insecticidal soap.

-         Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies on Paperwhites: Another pest that attack paperwhite plants are Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies, these are the uninvited guests that thrive in moist soil. To combat Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies on your paperwhite plants, let the soil dry out and then deploy yellow sticky traps to capture the adults Fungus Gnats and Fruit Flies.

-         Spider mites on paperwhite: Spider mites are insect that attack paperwhite plants. These insect are minuscule but mighty, often going unnoticed until they've done considerable damage on the paperwhite plants. Fine webs and a speckled look on the paperwhite plant leaves are the red flags signaling the spider mites presence.

Furthermore, the outdoor paperwhite plants are resistant to rabbits and deer.


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