Amaryllis and Paperwhites – easy care houseplants

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Amaryllis and Paperwhites – easy care houseplants

Read more to learn about these amazing indoor flowering bulbs.

A sight for sore eyes during our long winters Amaryllis and Paperwhite Narcissus are one of the simplest plants to grow indoors. With little to no care Amaryllis will provide weeks of show stopping large trumpet shaped blooms atop erect stems. Paperwhite Narcissus will please the eye and nose with their delicate scent and dainty flowers.They are  great in an entrance way or as table centrepieces. When I say little care… I  really do mean little care. Amaryllis bulbs need little soil, only some light, and very little water to perform. Place Paperwhites atop stones in a pot with no drainage, fill with water and viola they’ll bloom within a couple weeks.

Here are some quick growing tips on planting and growing Amaryllis:

  • Plant bulb in potting soil with the neck of the bulb above the soil(about 1/3 of the bulb)
  • Press soil lightly around bulb to secure it upright in pot and water sparingly
  • Place Amaryllis in indirect light with temperatures of 15-20ºC and wait for it to bloom

Keep watering your Amaryllis very sparingly and you will be thanked with massive blooms within a few weeks. Nothing is quite as cheery as an Amaryllis during colder months.


Paperwhite Narcissus are just as easy to get started. Fill a tray or pot with stones and place bulbs on top. Fill with water just till it is right below the base of  the bulb–you don’t want too much of the bulb sitting in the water otherwise it will rot. Place in a location that receives indirect light until root growth. Once roots develops move to a sunny location and they will bloom within a few weeks. If you don’t have enough light you may find that your Narcissus will stretch for light and flop over. Move them to a brighter location if this happens. If you have no where to move them give them a stiff drink. A study at Cornell University found that if you give alcohol to your Paperwhites they will grow 40% shorter but the blooms will not be affected. The study says to let your bulbs grow with normal water till they reach about 5cm. Drain the water carefully and mix  water and alcohol. To determine your mix rate here is a handy dilution rate depending on the alcohol percentage:

10%  Alcohol  =  1 Part  Water to 1 Part Alcohol
15%  Alcohol  =  2 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
20%  Alcohol  = 3 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
25%  Alcohol  =  4 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
30%  Alcohol  =  5 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
35%  Alcohol  =  6 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
40%  Alcohol  =  7 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol

These little guys are fussy and don’t like beer, wine or anything with added sugars so give them hard liquor. To determine what percentage alcohol you have, divide the proof in half.

So if your mixing yourself some rum and eggnog this holiday season your Paperwhites will appreciate getting a little tipsy with a splash of that rum.



2018-11-27T23:43:57+00:00Categories: Advice, Houseplants|