How to Grow Beautiful Paperwhite Narcissus for Christmas

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

We have decided to grow some flowering bulbs to enjoy in the house for winter. In an ideal world we would like them to flower around Christmas. We chose Narcissus ‘Paper-white’, which are meant to be idiot proof – I guess time will tell!

Our simple method and tips for growing flowering bulbs inside for Christmas - this is such a fun activity for kids to try.


As we are hoping to be able to gift these at Christmas, we started by giving the pots a couple of coats of paint. The plan is to add some embellishment such as ribbon, when we bring them in to the house to flower.

Our simple method and tips for growing flowering bulbs inside for Christmas - this is such a fun activity for kids to try.


There are loads of instructions available on the internet for forcing bulbs to flower for Christmas. Having read up on the topic we have come  to the following conclusions.

  • They can flower in anything from 4-12 weeks.
  • They may or may not need a period in a cold dark place.
  • You can grow them in or on soil, gravel, sand, marbles or pretty much anything you can dream up (wonder if lego would work?)
  • You should sit them on top of the soil, or under it, or somewhere in between!

In conclusion, sometimes you can have too much information! Having thoroughly confused ourselves, this is the method we have come up with…

How to Grow Beautiful Paperwhite Narcissus for Christmas

Our simple method and tips for growing flowering bulbs inside for Christmas - this is such a fun activity for kids to try.


1. We filled our pots 3/4 full with bulb fibre.

2. We placed our bulbs, root end down, on the soil, and filled around the bulbs with more fibre so that just their tips were still showing, and gave them a good water.

3. We put our pots in our dark, dank outbuilding. We will leave them in here for about a month to give the bulbs a chance to develop a root system.

4. We will bring the first pots into the house once the shoots from the bulbs are about 1.5-2″ long.

5. We will probably stagger bringing them inside to increase our chances of them flowering when we want them to.

6. Once you bring the pots in the advice is to initially keep them in a cool room away from bright light to allow the leaves to green up.

7. Then move them close to a window in warmer surroundings

8. Apparently, once inside, watering them with a 5% alcohol solution (white spirits such as gin or vodka) will encourage strong growth and stop them getting ‘leggy’ and toppling over.

9. You may wish to wear gloves when handling the bulbs as they can sometimes cause skin irritation.

Our simple method and tips for growing flowering bulbs inside for Christmas - this is such a fun activity for kids to try.


So to summarise. About a month in a cool dark shed, followed with about 6 weeks inside, leaving 2 weeks left over to tweak our method! 

For another great way to grow Spring bulbs, check out our Planting a Spring Bulb Lasagne Post. For more pot decorating inspiration check out our bark covered flowerpots and our decorating pots with preserved moss.

Our simple method and tips for growing flowering spring bulbs inside for Christmas - this is such a fun activity for kids to try.

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Mudpie Fridays October 31, 2015 - 7:38 am

I was eyeing these up in the garden centre the other day but was looking for outside bulbs so didn’t think about doing them inside! What a great idea and I love the painted pots very colourful 🙂 #Countrykids

Sarah October 31, 2015 - 10:33 am

They all seem to be growing really happily out in the shed – lots of cute sturdy little shoots sticking up, so am really hopeful we’ll have some lovely pots of flowers over the winter 🙂

Coombe Mill October 26, 2015 - 10:46 pm

Fingers crossed all goes to plan and you have beautiful flowering gifts for christmas, it sounds such a lovely diea and I really like the idea of personalising the pots too with a little paint. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

Sarah October 26, 2015 - 10:57 pm

Thanks Fiona, they seem to be doing well so far. My main concern is leaving them out in the shed in case something decides to have a nibble on them – its lovely living in the country, but we have an over-abundance of wildlife at times (if that’s possible!) It would be lovely to be able to give them as gifts as Narcissus are so pretty 🙂

Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar October 24, 2015 - 9:55 pm

Thank you for this great post! I was thinking we could grow herbs inside during the winter, but we don’t get much light. These flowering bulbs sound much better! Visiting from Whatever the Weather.

Sarah October 25, 2015 - 2:02 pm

We checked ours the other day and they seem to be doing really well (we have lots of little shoots now), so are hoping well get a lovely fragrant display 🙂

Jenny Eaves October 24, 2015 - 3:39 pm

These are a great idea for a gift! I love that you’ve painted special pots too. We have some in our shed in the hope to have some indoor flowers this winter, but. I never thought about making the pots pretty too. I hope they work as we’ve never tried to grow them in winter before! I hope you get them all flowering at the right time.
Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

Sarah October 25, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Thanks Jenny, hope yours do too. My main worry was that something furry would dig them up, but they seem to be doing really well so far 🙂

Chloe October 24, 2015 - 7:29 am

What a brilliant idea for a handmade….well homegrown Christmas gift!!! I hope they grow ok. My first attempt at growing things this year (sunflowers) went so wrong but mostly due to a window getting left open next to them and some pesky slugs got in. We’re going to try making a vegetable patch soon and can’t wait. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this. What a lovely way for you to all be involved as well. Thank you so, so much for linking to #whatevertheweather xx

Sarah October 25, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Growing things with kids is such fun, and mine will eat things we’ve grown, even if they wouldn’t touch them when bought from the supermarket. Good luck with your veggie patch – look forward to seeing it on the blog!

Ruth October 23, 2015 - 10:26 am

Good luck! I have been meaning to plant more outdoor bulbs but I just haven’t got round to it this year. I am nothing like a narcissus, water me with vodka and I tend to get leggy and fall over! #whatevertheweather

Sarah October 25, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Haha, can see that happening to me too. Can just see the looks when I put the recycling out and explain its the plant’s drink and not mine!

Let kids be kids October 15, 2015 - 9:11 am

I’ve never thought to grow bulbs for a christmas gift, that’s a great idea and it gets the children involved too.
Thanks for sharing #LetKidsBeKids

Sarah October 15, 2015 - 9:33 am

I’m really hoping the do well – it’ll be such a lovely gift to receive. I think its really nice for kids to be able to give gifts they have made themselves, I still remember the pride I felt presenting my parents with various misshapen bits of pottery and the like as a child – they all had pride of place on various windowsills around the house throughout my childhood 🙂