There’s a reason paperwhites are great nature projects for kids—they’re dead easy, But here’s why adults should love them too: they are also tall, graceful, beautiful plants, with a great fragrance, if you get the subtler varieties.
Unfortunately, all the garden centers usually stick to Ziva, the most common variety, which has a piercing fragrance some find unpleasant (doesn’t bother me, though). I never buy them anymore, now that I’ve tried some of the other varieties, such as Nazareth and Israel. There is also the Grand Soleil d’Or, which is supposed to be the crème de la crème, but somewhat difficult. I’ll try it next year.
If timed correctly—I would plant 4-5 bulbs per container and stagger the plantings every 2-3 weeks through December—paperwhites can supply your indoor floral needs from late November through January. The varieties I choose take a bit longer, so I just started a container a few days ago. I use river rocks, clear glass pebbles, or colored glass, if I’m feeling festive. Tall glass containers are best, planted about half way up, so the stalks have support and the roots have room. The water should be just below the bottom of the bulb—and the glass container makes this easy to maintain.
Here’s the one I just did. The river rocks camouflage the bulbs pretty well.