How To Grow Paperwhites Indoors and Use them In Your Winter Decor

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Have you ever wondered about how to grow paperwhites indoors for your Winter decor? Well today is your lucky day! I am sharing all about how to grow these beautiful white flowers and why I think they are the perfect addition to anybody’s Winter decor.How to easily grow and use Paperwhites in your decor.

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But before I get into all things Paperwhites I owe a huge thank you to Amber of Follow The Yellow Brick Home for including me in her Cozy Winter Home Tours hop. If you are coming over from Michelle of Thistle Key Lane and her beautiful Winter family room, welcome! I just love her style and blog. You can also find several other Winter posts linked at the end of mine!

How To Grow Paperwhites Indoors and use them in Winter Decor

As we dive into January so many winter decorating ideas are already swirling around in my head but one theme keeps returning; decorating with paperwhites and how to grow them indoors.

Using paperwhite flowers in your winter decor is easier than you think!

These beautiful (and sometimes stinky) flowers have captured my heart. I have had so much fun researching and gazing at paperwhite flower inspiration over on Pinterest. I thought you might also enjoy the inspiration and enjoy seeing how mine turned out.

What are Paperwhites?

Paperwhite flowers, scientifically known as Narcissus papyraceus, are charming and fragrant spring-blooming bulbs characterized by their pretty white petals and yellow centers.

These elegant flowers belong to the daffodil family and are popular for their delicate appearance and sweet(to some) scent. Paperwhites are often cultivated as ornamental plants, thriving in well-drained soil and sunny locations.

They are commonly associated with the winter holiday season, as they can be forced to bloom indoors, adding a touch of natural beauty and fragrance to homes during colder months. With their graceful blossoms and paperwhite flowers bring a sense of freshness and simplicity to gardens and indoor spaces alike.

Where To Buy Paperwhites

A few months ago I found a bag of paperwhite bulbs at Lowe’s and decided I would give them a try. I thought it would be fun to learn how to grow paperwhites indoors. You can find Paperwhite bulbs at your local garden center or you can find them on-line.

I found them on-line at Amazon as well as a wonderful website called White Flower Farm. The good news is that they aren’t hard to find!

When Should You Plant Paperwhite Bulbs

If you are looking at growing your paperwhites outdoors in your garden, the best time is anytime between September and December. All you have to do is water the area after planting and then pretty much forget about the bulbs until spring! So easy, right?

Decorating with paperwhite flowers.

When Do Paperwhites Bloom?

Paperwhite flowers typically bloom outdoors in the spring. These lovely blooms are nature’s way of announcing the arrival of warmer days.

However, if you’re feeling a bit impatient for that burst of springtime cheer, fear not! You can also bring the joy of paperwhites indoors during the winter months. Today is all about how to grow paperwhites indoors!

Growing paperwhites to use for winter decor.

By planting these bulbs in pots and providing them with some love and attention, you can coax them to bloom early, creating a delightful display for your indoor winter decor.

Imagine the magic of these delicate white flowers brightening up your home, filling the air with their sweet (or stinky) fragrance even when it’s chilly outside. It’s like having a touch of spring right at your fingertips, no matter the season!

How to Grow Paperwhites Indoors

Growing paperwhites indoors is a breeze, and it’s a delightful way to bring some natural charm into your home. Start by choosing a shallow container or pot, and fill it with well-draining potting mix.

Nestle the paperwhite bulbs into the soil, placing them closely together but not touching. Water them thoroughly, and then place the container in a sunny spot.

Paperwhites at an early stage.

Watch the magic unfold as the green shoots emerge, eventually giving way to those beautiful, fragrant blooms.

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and in just a few weeks, you’ll have your own indoor garden of paperwhites to brighten up those winter days. No green thumb required – it’s like bringing a bit of the outdoors in, right to your windowsill!

How To Force Paperwhites

However, these flowers are perfect to grow in the Winter because you can force these bulbs to grow at any time inside. They are basically foolproof! The directions were on the bag so I gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy!

TIP: If you want these to be ready for Christmas plant them the last week of October or first week of November!

Pretty Paperwhites add the perfect touch to any winter decor and they are so easy to grow!

How to Grow Paperwhites in Rocks

First, find a shallow bowl or container to use as a planter and make sure it doesn’t have drainage holes.  Fill the planter with rocks. (I purchased my rocks at the Dollar Store.)

Funny side note story: My family thought I had added a Zen Garden of sorts and couldn’t figure out why I had a bowl full of rocks on the kitchen counter! ha ha.:) After a good giggle it was fun to explain that I was forcing bulbs!

Growing Paperwhites is easier than you think! How to grow paperwhites indoors.

Next, nuzzle your upright bulbs halfway down into your rocks. Finally, add enough water to cover just the very bottom of the bulbs. Water sporadically over the next four weeks making sure not to add too much water so they don’t rot.

Keep them out of direct sunlight and they should flower in 4-6 weeks. And that’s it! I know, so simple right? Since these flowers are so easy to grow they are perfect for beginning gardeners! If you are like me then you will want to try this and tell all of your friends how to grow paperwhites indoors!

How to Care for Paperwhites after they Bloom

Caring for your paperwhites after they’ve bloomed is a piece of cake! Once those gorgeous flowers have dazzled your space with their beauty and fragrance, simply trim off the spent blooms.

If you’re keeping them in a container, you can let the foliage die back naturally to nourish the bulbs for the next blooming cycle. If you’re planning to plant them outdoors after their indoor stint, wait until the danger of frost has passed and find a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Give them a good watering, and voila – you’re set for another round of stunning paperwhite blooms in the next season.

It’s like a floral encore waiting to happen, and with a little love, your paperwhites will keep spreading joy long after their initial show. Easy, right? Happy gardening!

Great ways to use paperwhites in your winter decor.

How Long Do Paperwhites Last & How Can You Make them Last Longer?

Paperwhites typically last for about two to three weeks once they bloom. To make them last longer and extend their beauty, consider the following tips:

  1. Cooler Temperatures: Keep paperwhites in a cool location. Warmer temperatures can cause them to bloom and fade more quickly.
  2. Reduced Heat and Direct Sunlight: Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near heat sources. These factors can accelerate the blooming process and shorten their lifespan.
  3. Proper Watering: Maintain consistent but moderate moisture in the soil. Overwatering or allowing the bulbs to sit in water can lead to rot, while too little water can cause the flowers to wilt prematurely.
  4. Prune Spent Blooms: Remove spent blooms promptly to redirect the plant’s energy back into bulb development. Use clean scissors or pruning shears to cut the spent flowers at the base.

By following these care tips, you can enjoy your paperwhites for a more extended period and potentially encourage them to bloom again in the future.

How To Use Paperwhites In Your Winter Decor

I don’t know about you but once Christmas is over I feel a bit sad and I start craving flowers and signs of Spring. Paperwhite flowers are the perfect flower for that awkward in between time of Winter and Spring.

I mean aren’t they just so pretty?

They are easy to decorate with and look good no matter where you put them. You could use them as a centerpiece, in a vignette, on top of baskets, in a window. There are so many options!

All I know is each time I walk into this room they make me smile. Now on the other hand, my husband can’t stand the smell. I honestly haven’t noticed their smell yet…maybe it’s because I am short. 😉

How to grow and use paperwhite flowers for winter decor.

How I Decorated With My Paperwhites

I added them to the top of my favorite green dresser. Here I created a layered vignette using my blue and white Home Goods bowl, vintage windows from Junk Wonderful and a fabulous and colorful barn print from local artist Kaley Alie Art!

In my opinion you can never go wrong with a layered vignette. Oh, and I also added a little bit of moss on top of the rocks for even more fun texture!

Forcing Paperwhite flowers for winter decorating. How to grow paperwhites indoors.

These beauties are fun to look at from every angle. You really can’t go wrong with decorating with them.

Update: I grew them again this year and this time put them in a basket meant to hold bottles of wine. I am obsessed! I love how they can basically be planted anywhere. For the basket I simply planted the bulbs in cups filled with rocks. When they start to flop I will tie them up with ribbons!

Learn how easy it is to force paperwhite bulbs!

Check out this fun video I shared over on Tik Tok of how I planted them!

I will be sad when they are done blooming but luckily I found some great faux options… I will link those for you below!

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Can You Reuse Paperwhite Bulbs?

Wondering what to do with your paperwhites after they bloom? Well you just have to wait six weeks after the paperwhite blooms, turn the pot on its side and then store it in a spot where it will not freeze.

Some of the best places are your garage or basement. In the fall, grab your pot and turn it upright, place it in the sun, water the bulb completely and keep watering them until the paperwhite blooms again in the spring. Amazing right? I can’t wait to try this. I will let you know how it goes!

Tips and tricks for decorating with paperwhites during winter. How to grow paperwhites indoors.

Troubleshooting Common Paperwhite Problems

Why are my paperwhites not blooming?

If your paperwhites are holding back on the blooms, a common reason might be that they need more time. These beauties can be a bit fashionably late. Ensure they are getting sufficient sunlight, and be patient. If you’ve been too generous with the watering, give them a break – they prefer their soil slightly moist, not waterlogged.

What to do if my paperwhites are falling over?

Ah, the leaning tower of paperwhites! If your flowers are taking a dramatic bow, it’s usually because they’re reaching for more light. Relocate them to a brighter spot, and they should perk up. You can also support them with stakes or tie them gently to keep those graceful stems from doing the limbo. I love to use pretty ribbon!

How do I stop my paperwhites from getting leggy?

If your paperwhites are getting too top heavy you can add vodka to the water and this will slow down the growth and keep them from getting too heavy and leggy. Or you can also opt for a differing variety of smaller paperwhites.

Why are the tips of my paperwhites turning yellow?

Yellow tips? Not the best fashion statement for paperwhites! This could be a sign of overwatering. Ease up on the watering schedule and make sure the pots have good drainage. They prefer their soil to be just moist, not soaked.

Why do paperwhites smell so bad?

Ah, the scent of paperwhites – it’s a love-it-or-not-so-much situation! While many adore their sweet fragrance, some find it a bit strong. The aroma comes from compounds in the bulbs. If it’s too intense, try placing them in a well-ventilated area or enjoy them from a bit of a distance. Or try planting a different variety.

Are paperwhites toxic to pets?

Paperwhites (Narcissus) can be toxic to pets if ingested, especially the bulbs. Keep them in a pet-safe area or opt for other pet-friendly blooms if your furry friends have a curious nibbling habit. Safety first for our four-legged pals!

Pretty Paperwhites add the perfect touch to any winter decor and they are so easy to grow!

How To Grow Paperwhites Indoors & Use them in Your Winter Decor

So what do you think? Will you try your hand at growing Paperwhites indoors or will go the faux route? Either way they make a pretty statement anywhere you choose to add them in your home! Hopefully I was able to answer some of your questions on how to grow and use Paperwhites in your Winter decor. If you do have any questions just leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you!

Next up on the hop is Shannon of Belle Bleu Interiors. Her home is beautiful and so is her blog!

I’d love to have you hang out with me some more! Feel free to follow along with me on any of the platforms linked below.

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  1. Your paperwhites look gorgeous! It’s been a few years since I’ve grown any and after seeing your post, I’m going to stop by the Feed and Seed today to see if they have any bulbs left. I plant my bulbs outdoors after they bloom and believe it or not, they bloom outdoors for me each year.

  2. They are so pretty in you chinoiserie bowl. I bought some and put them by the kitchen sink. They smelled like we had spoiled food in our kitchen so they got planted outside. I just love how they look. The smell not so much. Your display and that painting are adorable.

  3. I love all the beautiful finds you and your Mom found while treasure hunting Kelly! They’re all totally fabulous. Thanks so much for the great tips on how to grow paperwhites too. They’re one of my favorite flowers and yours are just gorgeous. Hugs, CoCo

  4. I’ve grown paperwhites several times very similar to your lovely display. Every time they look a mess because the paperwhites grow too tall and fall over. Have you had this experience? What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Linda thanks for stopping by. This was my fist time growing them and so far they are not falling over. But I have heard this is common. I have heard that you can tie ribbon around them to keep them up or buy mini support rings to hold them up. I hope that helps!

  5. I have always been hesitant to try anything bulb related after trying for years to grow tulips. I see paperwhites all over the place and love them. You make it sound easy enough. Guess I’ll try again. But…I’ll think of you and curse your name if they don’t work. Just Kidding. LOL. Or am I? 🙂

  6. They are gorgeous, Kelly! I had a hard time finding some this year, so I was late planting mine, but I am starting to see a few green sprouts! Stay cozy! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

  7. Kelly, thanks for the helpful tips for growing paperwhites. I may just try my hand at it. The Chinoiserie bowl you planted them is is gorgeous, and I am swooning over that pretty green chest!

  8. What a gorgeous setting for those wonderful Paperwhites! I used to plant multiple pots that started blooming right after Thanksgiving. I haven’t done that in years and really miss growing them. I have to say that green dresser is such a show stopper. Add the blue/white color theme on top and it’s just so wonderful; sort of gets me thinking of “Spring” !

  9. I grew some paperwhites for the first time this winter. They have finished blooming now, and I am wondering what to do with them now. The leaves need to soak up some sun to bloom next year, but it is too cold to put them outside. I need to find a spot for them out of the way now. I had to stake the leaves as they flopped over.

  10. I’m totally trying this, Kelly! You had me at “fool proof.” LOL! Your photography is stunning, and you’ve inspired me to order some paperwhites to give this a try. I had no idea that some people think they are stinky. It might be worth the beauty, though, especially this time of year. Great post!

  11. Your paperwhites are so beautiful! I also love how you displayed them with pretty blues and greens. I don’t exactly have a green thumb but I am willing to give your instructions a try! I’m inspired!

  12. Kelly, such a nice break from the mostly gray skies of winter in Pittsburgh — fresh flowers in a stunning pot. I’ve never tried to grow them myself. Wonder if how you react to their scent is a DNA thing? I know some people (like yours truly) love the taste of cilantro. Others describe it as tasting like a bar of soap! Apparently your genes determine the reaction. Maybe it’s something similar with smell and paperwhites?

    1. Thank you! I was lucky to catch a sunny day here in Colorado. Maybe it is a DNA thing…because they don’t bother me but the definitely bother my husband!Ha Have fun if you grow them!

  13. I wish this was scratch and sniff; I love the fragrance of paper whites! So fresh for the new year; they’d make me happy, too. I’ve never tried them; guess I just never think of it before Christmas. Honestly, I should just get some now and enjoy them in March…right about when we’re getting our last big snowfalls:(

  14. I love paperwhites and plant them every year for Christmas. This year, I bought the bulbs but didn’t get them planted. I now have them planted for winter. Can’t wait till they bloom. Yours look beautiful!

  15. I love paperwhites and had some a few years ago. So much fun to watch the growing process. You really picked the perfect bowl to plant them in, the bright green and blue look so pretty together. Love your layered vignette too Kelly!

  16. Just gorgeous Kelly! Last year I did a post on winter decorating with paperwhites and just updated it to include one of your beautiful photos and a link to this post.

    Your vignette is stunning with combination of green, blue chinoiserie, and the rustic windows. Love the colorful painting. Paperwhites are so perfect for transitioning from winter to spring and your vignette is wonderful for winter or early spring! Paperwhites and daffodils overlap in their early blooming time here in KY. The daffodils last longer until the tulips start popping up. Okay I am getting off on a spring gardening tangent…it’s on my mind!

    Thank you so much for joining the winter home tours!

  17. Kelly, great explanation of how to grow paper whites. I love them, but last year we had one that just never grew. I think it was bad from the start. Now I want to try again. Love your bowl and how you styled your vignette. What a pretty green dresser. Happy to be on the home tour with you and thanks for sharing at Tuesday Turn About.

  18. Blessed to have you at TTA this week, Kelly! We love seeing your posts! I received some forced bulbs this year as a birthday gift… it was so fun (and fragrant) to have hyacinth and amaryllis in bloom inside My Wee Abode! Do you know what to do with the bulbs when they are done blooming? Do you just toss them and start again? Inquiring minds want to know! (Pinned to my small home gardening board… these are great for tiny homes with no outside space!)

  19. Kelly, I have been wanting to grow paperwhites but just really never knew how. Thanks for sharing this. Great blog for this time of the year. Your home is lovely.

  20. Thank you for posting about paperwhites! We are currently waiting on them to go half price at the store…my husb. does a great job of growing them along with amarylis. Blessings!

  21. Kelly,
    I love paperwhites! And the way you decorated with them… Planted in a blue and white bowl atop you spring-y green chest definitely chases away the Winter greys.


  22. Kelly, I have never done this before and need to try! They look so beautiful in your home!! Thanks for the tips so I won’t feel so lost!

  23. I am a paperweight virgin and have never grown them! But they look like they’re pretty straightforward and easy to grow. The color is vibrant and beautiful for the spring. Thanks for the beautiful blog post.

  24. I love how you styled these, I have a similar little bowl I could try. They are growing so straight, do they ever fall over for you? I’m super impressed!

  25. Your paperwhites are so pretty, Kelly. I’ve never tried anything like this before, but you make it look so easy! And the flowers are such a fun and easy way to bring a little cheer indoors during the cold and gloomy winter months.

  26. I still love this post… one year later! 🙂 I think I may need to do my own. Wonder if it’s too late? Pinned, again!

  27. I’ve always wanted to try forcing paperwhites to bloom but it seemed so intimidating. You’ve made it sound so easy! I’m definitely giving this a try next year because I’m right with you in craving signs of spring as soon as the holidays are over. Love that you can reuse the bulbs from one year to the next!

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