Paperwhites on the front deck in December. ©2007
Narcissus 'Ziva' ©2007
Narcissus for the
Holidays & Beyond
There is nothing better for the spirit than flowering plants in winter. One of my favorites, paper-whites, I grow on a table near the door; this helps make winter look like spring and chases the January blahs away. They take everything winter throws at them as they sit under the protection of a deck cover. This year I planted the cultivar Narcissus 'Ziva'. The painted pot sits on my deck and keeps blooming well into winter. Other filled containers, I gave away to friends for their own entryways or decks.
I plant the fresh bulbs in regular potting soil or gravel about mid October. This guarantees they will be blooming before Christmas. In containers with no drainage, I use marbles or glass chips if I am growing them in water only. Filling each pot with as many bulbs as will fit, without their touching each other, gives the best display. With shallow containers, I barely cover the bottom of the bulbs with potting medium; in deeper ones, they are buried up to their necks. Planted in soil, these two containers were left outside under the protection of the deck cover until they began to blossom. They are staged in a prominent place for my enjoyment until the flowers fade.
For bulbs growing in gravel or other soil-less medium, treat with alcohol to stunt their growth, keeping their stems short while not affecting their beautiful flower display. When they are finished blooming, toss the bulbs, preferably on the compost heap, and buy new bulbs each year. It makes an elegant, yet inexpensive display, or use for gifts each year, especially when recycling your pots.
Photographed in author's garden.