Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter growing: Forced paperwhites

Every year about this time I start my forced paperwhites. This year's batch have been hanging out in the dark cool garage for a few weeks, and now that they've got small stems and some roots, they're ready to come in the house.

This year I'm trying something new. Replacing the water at this stage with a mixture of water and alcohol is said to stunt the growth of the stems while allowing the flowers to grow to full size. The point is to prevent the stems from flopping over just as the flowers start to bloom.

You can use either rubbing alcohol (I couldn't find any) or distilled spirits (I found plenty). With booze, mix one part alcohol to seven parts water. The best way to do this is to pour out the water in which the bulbs have been rooting (it will probably be sort of brown and smelly anyway) and replacing it with a solution you have measured carefully. As with people, too much alcohol is not a good thing.

6 comments:

Mo said...

Ha! You are my kind of woman. No rubbing alcohol but plenty of spirits.

Have you been rooting around my place again?

Something did look a little out of place this morning....

tommie said...

This totally made me laugh! I must have been a paperwhite in a previous life...I totally can't handle the "spirits".

lisagh said...

Cin - you're my idol! I've keep 3 plants alive and I feel like a greenthumb. Then you bring me down to earth mentioning "forced paperwhites" - I had to Google it to find out what the heck that even meant!

Jen Yu said...

you and booze :) make me laugh. I think it's time for me to move mine to the light and get that booze water action going (but I'll use rubbing alcohol). You are a plethora of great info!

Tanya said...

Oh, Id love to know how this turns out! Im afraid I dont have much of a green thumb, but my mother forces paperwhites and amaryllis every year and shed love a hint like this!

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