‘Tis the season for Holiday Bulbs
If you receive a lovely gift of a paperwhite bulb kit or buy one on your own, here’s a hint to get flowers that don’t flop over. Stop paperwhite bulbs from flopping by giving them a little cocktail! A dilute alcohol solution reduces the amount of water the stems can take up which results in shorter, stouter stems without affecting bloom. Start bulbs six weeks before you want bloom.
- Select large fat firm paperwhite bulbs to fit without touching in a waterproof container.
- Secure bulbs, round root plate down, in a base of gravel, pebbles, or marbles.
- Make sure shoulder and bloom tip of bulb are above water level.
- Fill water to shoulder and keep in a cool dark place for the first week.
- When tops are 1-2″ tall, pour off the water and replace with the following solution:
- Add 1/4 cup 80 proof liquor* or ethanol to 1 3/4 cup water. Continue using this formula until bloom. Use ‘hard liquor’ such as vodka, gin, bourbon, whiskey but NOT beer or wine whose sugars damage plants.
- Also bring bulbs into stronger light once alcohol mixture is used.
* Read entire article from the Cornell Horticulture department: https://blogs.cornell.edu/hort/2009/11/10/pickling-your-paperwhites/