Forcing Paper Whites for Christmas: Two Ways

For years now I have wanted to fill my home with Paper Whites at Christmas time. But year after year I haven’t gotten it together to start these bulbs early enough to have Christmas blooms. Probably because I ignore all things Christmas until after Thanksgiving. But I made an exception this year. Plus I planted my Paper Whites two different ways, with and without dirt. I even made a few for teacher gifts!
Who’s got it together now?

So prior to my Pinterest extravaganza to educate myself on the many ways of Paper Whites I learned that these bulbs do not have to be planted in soil! I saw beautiful pictures where everything from glass balls to river rocks to colorful Lego’s were used as a planting medium. But this picture from Southern Living is where I stopped my search.
Silver beaded garland. Love it!
I picked up a Paper White kit complete with four bulbs, soil and an ugly green bucket for $5.  The silver garland was $1.97 and the three yard spools of pom-poms and ribbon were $1 each. I used the same glass punch cups that I used as candle holders in my Nature Walk Inspired Fall Tablescape. I already had the Mason Jar, duh.

I hoard Mason Jars.
For the no-soil method I cut the garland in three equal lengths for my three punch glasses.

I put about half of each length into a glass, popped a bulb in and the piled the rest of the garland around each bulb.

I had my little helper critiquing my work while she enjoyed her peanut butter and jelly lunch.  If using a Mason Jar I suggest using a wide-mouth variety. I managed to plant a bulb in my jar but it would’ve been easier if I had. I hoard wide-mouth Mason Jars from myself.
For my little punch glass planters I’m going to try out this nifty tip to keep the flowers from growing too tall. I really hope it doesn’t become a Pinterest fail since I plan on giving these as Christmas gifts for my kiddo’s teachers. I’ll keep you posted.

Fill the glasses with your water/alcohol solution just to the bottom of the bulb. This keeps the bulbs from rotting. A little tie of the red pom-pom ribbon and a tuck of a sprig of Cedar in the garland and I’m done! Later I’ll scroll through my free printables for a ‘thank you’ tag that I’ll print and tie on, but I’m not that together yet.
For the Mason Jar I tied a silver ribbon around the top with a bit of the red pom-pom and another sprig of Cedar. Can you tell I’m a sucker for the traditional color scheme?
The directions say to keep your bulbs in a well-lighted area but not direct light. Blooms will appear in 4-6 weeks. Force those bulbs SuperMom’s, you still have time!
Now for the Paper White bulb-in-the-dirt-variation I pulled some moss off the oak trees and gathered up some of my old wedding decor. Can you guess that I used Mason Jars? I had them hanging from Shepard’s Hooks that lined the isle filled with antique pink and green hydrangeas as well as pink peonies.
3 1/2 cups of warm water and 5 minutes later the weird cardboard-looking hard circle that came in the kit turns into a giant dirt tower. I was so glad the PB&J lunch was over otherwise my little helper would’ve dove into this before I could say Paper White.
Since four bulbs came to a kit I divided the soil and spooned it into four of my post-wedding Mason Jars.
Gently push a bulb just about half-way into the soil. The key when planting the bulbs is to not completely submerge them in water. This keeps them from rotting. I say this again because we are not the Grinch so don’t do that. Just add enough water so just the bottom of the bulb is wet and the soil is moist.
I added the moss around the bulb to add a bit of color and decoration but also to help keep the soil from drying out.
Now I made 7 of these. I plan on using them in my Christmas decor but you’ll have to wait to see what I do with that until after Thanksgiving. I’m already breaking my own rule creating these decorations in the first place!
I tried a few different ways to accent the jars. I didn’t want to think too hard of how I would finish my Paper White Mason Jars. I’m still not that together.
Hooray! This project was so super easy to do. I made 7 silver garland containers and 7 Mason Jar containers like this one. Plus I filled 3 of my grandmothers Milk Glass vases with 9 more Paper White bulbs. Including the photo shoot and clean up all in all this project took me about 3 hours total. Not obsessing over pictures and fighting nap time I could of made all 17 Paper White decorations in 1 hour.

The aftercare directions state that even after flowering to continue watering to maintain the leaves.  When frost is no longer an issue you can plant your bulbs outside to naturalize. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil while leaving the foliage above the ground. Water if needed until the leaves die and enjoy your Paper Whites year after year! Blooms will reappear in December is you live in a warmer climate and in Spring in colder climates.

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