Learn how to grow and care for paperwhite bulbs. Here Gord Nickel shows you how to plant paperwhite bulbs and how to use
alcohol in order to control the length of their stems.
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Paperwhites are a great traditional bulb that often planted in November and December. But, one of the problems with Paperwhites is they have that long stem and often needs support.
Well, I have got a little story for you. Back in Cornell University, in December of 2004, they are having a bit of that yearend party. Well, one of the students accidentally stumbled and spilled some of their drink into some of the already sprouting Paperwhites. Well, they realized that these ones were actually growing a little bit shorter and stockier than the other ones. So, after about four months in three different trials, they realized that if you mix one part of alcohol to nine-part of water, you will get a short stem about 40% shorter that your normal stems, but you still get those beautiful white flowers of the same size.
So, if you want, what you can do is take a vas like we have here. Bring up the water level enough. This is straight water and you put it just to the bottom of the bulb, never touching the bulb. You can touch the root, but you never touching the bulb. Leave it for about a week, until you get a sprout that is about five centimeters high. At that point, you can take all the water out and then you can mix it in one part alcohol and nine parts water.
Now, you can use any kind of alcohol that you would like. You can use tequila, gin, vodka, if you like. Stay away from the beer and stay away from the wine, and not great for the bulb. But all the other ones worked very well. And, what you will find is you have a very short stocky yet very beautiful Paperwhite.
Gord Nickel has been a professional horticulturalist for almost 30 years. Taken from his popular TV show, Gord, who has been working in gardens since he was 15 years old, teaches easy, fun gardening skills.