How to make Paperwhite Daffodil bulbs bloom indoors

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Paperwhite Daffodils

My daughter and I are always looking for fun projects to do indoors during the winter. I think we’ve just about mixed every type of slime on the market. We’ve made our own bath bombs, soaps, fragrances, lip balms and playdough. And we’ve tinkered with countless science kits. We’re running out of new projects and experiments to do, while her love of learning continues to grow.

As a result, I’ve been pushed outside the this-is-available-at-a-retail-store-near-you box to continue challenging her. In my search for our next learning experience, I found a Penn State Extension article that detailed indoor winter gardening activities for kids. Although Vayda and I have already done many of these activities, I discovered one we haven’t attempted — making Paperwhite Daffodil (Paperwhite narcissus) bulbs bloom indoors.

Making Paperwhite Daffodil bulbs bloom

This project appealed to me because Vayda is really interested in biology. She loves every aspect of life and what sustains it. Doing a simple project where she can easily view growth and changes over time offers a new learning experience every day.

Penn State Extension recommends using Paperwhite Daffodil bulbs because they only need a few inches of stones and water to bloom in a glass bowl or vase. Using a glass container makes it possible for your child to track root growth day-by-day.

What you need

  • Paperwhite Daffodil bulbs
  • Glass bowl or vase
  • Stones or pebbles
  • Water

Getting set up

  1. Put 2 inches of rocks in the bottom of a small vase or 4 inches of rock in a larger container.
  2. Arrange bulbs close together on top of the rock. Make sure root ends are facing down and pointed tips are turned up.
  3. Place rocks around and between bulbs to anchor them, but leave the tops exposed.
  4. Carefully pour water into your container so that the level reaches just below the base of the bulbs. Make sure the bulbs are not sitting in water, so they do not rot.

Making your bulbs bloom

  1. Place your container and bulbs in a cool place.
  2. Check on your bulbs daily and add water when the level falls more than 1 inch below the surface of the stones.
  3. After about three weeks when roots are well-developed move your container to a sunny location.
  4. After your bulbs begin to bloom, support their shoots with stakes and twine as they reach about 8 inches tall. This will prevent them from toppling.
  5. When your bulbs have finished blooming, compost them. They won’t bloom again indoors.

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