DIY: Forcing Paperwhite Bulbs & Stunting Their Stems

Nothing gets me more excited in the midst of winter than the promise of spring flowers. Forcing bulbs inside in the winter months has been around for a long while and the fresh blooms that emerge from their stems makes my heart flutter every time.

This season, I decided to force paperwhite bulbs after Christmas so that I can enjoy their strong and heavenly fragrance this late winter. Some don't care for their scent but I love their sweet fragrant smell. The last time I forced bulbs inside was a few years back and I later learned that the green stems of paperwhites can become very long- causing the flowers to topple over if the conditions are right. 

This time around I decided to do a little experiment with watering that I learned from one of my followers. According to The Spruce, you can stunt the stem growth by watering the bulbs with alcohol. Laura from Garden Answer also talked about this watering method. Long story short, if you mix a certain percentage of alcohol to water, the stems are stunted but the blooms are not effected! Worth a shot...

I have two containers planted with the same bulbs. My only concern with watering one with the alcohol/water mixture vs. straight water is the container depth difference. I've noticed the bulbs in the deeper wicker vase are growing faster than my bulbs in the more shallow galvanized compote. SO, we shall see if container difference is also a factor later on.

My stems are about 1-3" sprouted so I'll begin the watering/alcohol process this week in the shallow metal compote. I'll report back with my findings to see what the end result was. Regardless, I should be left with some beautiful, fragrant blooms in a few weeks! 

Chat soon, Alyssa

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