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Forcing Paper-Whites

Martha Stewart Living Television

Forced bulbs bring springlike blooms to the middle of winter. Paper-whites are tender bulbs, and their needs so simple, that only water and a holding medium, such as pebbles or gravel, are necessary for them to thrive. Learn how to plant paper-whites in two containers: a tall glass cylinder and a shouldered ceramic pot.

Larger bulbs, though a bit more expensive, will produce more flowers. Carefully fill the glass cylinder with several inches of pebbles and nestle a handful of paper-white bulbs in the pebbles so that they fit snugly within the container's walls. Add water up to the base of the bulbs. Check daily to maintain the water supply. In eight to ten weeks, you will have a tall, handsome cluster of paper-whites, supported by the walls of the vase.

A shouldered pot is another ideal container for forcing bulbs. The opening of the pot tapers inward, which keeps the bulbs from pulling out of the gravel as the roots grow.

After your paper-whites have finished blooming, gently pull the plants from the gravel or pebbles and either throw them away or compost them. Wash and dry the stones and the container, and save these for next year.