The 12 Flowers of Christmas: Day 9

by Rachael Priest on December 17, 2011

 

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me: Paper Whites

 

Paper whites are a bulb flower from the narcissus family. They are similar to the daffodils of spring, but are smaller, more delicate, more fragrant, and bloom in the late fall sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because of their unusual blooming period, they are popular Christmas flowers. Paper whites are also extremely easy to force into bloom, making them a preferred choice for indoor potted plants year-round.

Using Paper Whites in Your Christmas Flowers

Leaving paper whites in their potted plant form is generally a better way to use them in Christmas décor. While you can certainly clip them for use in fresh cut flower arrangements, they tend to last longer when left with the plant. You can use potted paper whites to adorn your stairs, on side or coffee tables, as a centerpiece on your dining room table, or line your doorways and walls with them. Alternate potted paper whites with potted poinsettias to add some visual interest and elegance to your Christmas décor.

You can also accessorize your paper whites with Christmas decorations to add a festive flair. Use candy canes, pinecones, holly berries, Christmas greens, and ribbon to decorate your paper whites in the spirit of the season.

Caring for Paper Whites

Paper whites like cooler temperatures and average humidity conditions. They need well-drained soil. Do not allow them to sit in water; this could cause root rot and the ultimate demise of your plant. If you choose to plant them outdoors, consider grouping them in bunches and always plant in the fall. Adding mulch on top of the bulbs after planting will help to protect them from extreme temperatures and will cut down on weed invasion.

If you want your paper whites to bloom before they naturally would, doing so is easy. Potting them tightly together indoors and providing the right conditions will force paper whites into bloom, so you can enjoy blooms throughout the year, depending on your potting schedule. It is extremely rare for one bulb to flower more than once, but they propagate vigorously so there is no need ever to worry about not having blooms.

You can find paper white bulbs and potted plants at greenhouses and local florists like Buds ‘n Bows Flower Shop in Crawford, Ga. Give us a call at 706-743-5830 if you would like to place an order for these delicate, sweet smelling, good-tempered flowers. “May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.”

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