Should have forced some paperwhites

While waiting for a meeting to begin at the Toronto Botanical Garden this week, something clucked at me for not doing something last fall. No, not a chicken. It was a pot of paperwhite Narcissus.

Forcing bulbs is so easy. Yet fall can be so busy that even easy things can be neglected. Not this fall, I hope. Perhaps if I don’t plant another 400+ bulbs outdoors I’ll have oomph enough left to pot up a dozen or so bulbs for indoor forcing.

Some people can’t stand the scent of paperwhites. It can be overwhelming in a small space, and some cultivars (I’m sniffing at you, ‘Ziva’) are smellier than others. This unknown paperwhite wasn’t like that. I’ve read that Narcissus ‘Inbal’ is almost without scent, so who knows. This might have been it.

If you want to try next year, take this tip from Canadian bulbmeister Dugald Cameron from the TBG’s Bulb of the Month page:

Drinking Stunts Their Growth
Tired of your paperwhite narcissus growing tall and lanky and falling over? Just give them a drink; they’ll stay shorter and bloom beautifully. Like many of my friends, paperwhites will drink almost anything provided it’s a four-to-six per cent solution (one part booze to seven parts water), although no beer or wine, please. Cheers!

Can you hear the little voice that says, “Soon be spring!”

Are you force-full with bulbs? Tell us your favourites here.


  1. Wow, who knew ! I had to read this twice to confirm the “bulbmeister’s advice! See you next week at Etobicoke Hort myg. Looking forward to it!

    1. Apparently, a little gin or vodka can make a difference. Worth a try! See you next week for The Garden of Regrets.

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