Forcing Narcissus Paperwhites
I am in a very experimental mood at the moment: throwing the rule book out and trying different things! For an example of this insanity see my post on the giant cyclamen corm. Anyway, this week’s experiment isn’t so radical as it is based on common practice, so Mr Colborn tells us. I read his post a couple of years ago and was intrigued and wanted a go. I forgot last year but this year I was on the case and determined to source Narcissus Paperwhite bulbs to have a go at forcing them indoors. I think I got a little carried away as going through the bulbs I have to deal with I have about 20 Narcissus Paperwhite. I know I wanted to do a couple of bowls and stagger them over a few weeks but I suspect I will end up with 4 bowls and be genuinely fed up with Narcissus by the end of Spring!!!
Anyway, Mr Colborn’s instructions are as follows:
- take a bowl, an old salad bowl is perfect, and put a thick layer of grit or gravel in the bottom
- stand you bulbs on top of the gravel
- add water until it just reaches the base of the bulbs
- then fill in and decorate with pebbles or something similar. I used Japanese Black Pebbles which are quite nice but I only chose them as that was all the garden centre had. They do look a bit like mussels in the photo below.
- Place on a bright windowsill and top up the water as necessary
I am assuming that the reason this works is that the bulb is full of everything the plant needs to grow but what I’m not sure what to do with the bulbs when they have finished flowering. I don’t like throwing bulbs away after one season. Surely in order for them to be viable next spring they need feeding ans therefore need some soil. I will have to investigate further but I have time.
I’m quite pleased to have finally done the first bowl, particularly as I am nursing my second head cold in three weeks, although it might just be the same cold and I am feeling very frustrated that I can’t get on with things in the garden.