Sunday, November 23, 2014

Plastered Paperwhites

I fell hopelessly down the Pinterest rabbit hole the other day, and spent an hour or so looking at photos of several different types of Christmas flowers. I love poinsettias, and usually pack a giant basket with several plants every year. They're so pretty and festive.

Lulu's never been impressed by poinsettias. 

But I also think that amaryllis and paperwhites are beautiful. And, on one of my exercise/shopping outings, noticed inexpensive kits that contained the bulbs, growing medium, a pot, and instructions. Hm. Interesting.. I thought. I snagged two bright red amaryllis kits and one box of paperwhites. And because I thought the black plastic pots included in the kits looked pretty ugly, headed over to Goodwill where I scored three white ceramic pots for a little bit of nothing.

I love Goodwill.

So I dutifully potted them following the package instructions and am spending far too much time with chin in hand scrutinizing these things in hopes that they'll flower by Christmas.

It appears that the paperwhites are pretty active little bulbs. I swear I can see new growth on them from one day to the next.

I hopped online to read more about forcing bulbs, and realized with some dismay that my paperwhites although quick to grow and flower apparently......are stinky when they blossom.

Oh, no.

Since my sense of smell is not great, I'm not so worried about my olfactories being offended, but am concerned what John and our holiday guests would think after getting a nose full of whatever this smell is. I'm thinking at present that I'll just wait and see exactly how smelly the blossoms are. Maybe I'll just put a nice smelling candle next to them.

While I was reading about paperwhite smelliness, I also came across an intriguing article  from Cornell University entitled "Pickling Your Paperwhites" that discussed another of these bulb's drawbacks: apparently they grow so quickly that their stems become very long and "leggy" and may not be able to support the weight of the blooms. The article claimed that if one fed the bulbs a mixture of alcohol and water, that the stems would be shorter and sturdier.

I was intrigued. Of course I'm going to try this.

This should be interesting.

I was going to make some kind of snarky comment here about keeping the plant water away from John and Greg --- but realized that they like their alcohol far more concentrated than the 7 parts water to 1 part vodka.

I'll keep y'all posted.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

From someone who actually has experienced the smell of Paperwhites, they are indeed very stinky. It's not a pleasant smell, and in fact gives me a headache. I also think that some people are more sensitive to the smell while others less so because I have a friend who loves them and doesn't think they stink much.

If you are having company over I'd recommend banning the Paperwhites to a room where the guests won't be using, it will just be a safer experience for all :-).