Paperwhite Narcissus, are a great way to bring some color and some fragrance into your home during the winter. They're easy to grow, and you don't need a lot of supplies.

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at:

Paperwhites for Winter Fragrance

Paperwhite Narcissus, are a great way to bring some color and some fragrance into your home during the winter. They’re easy to grow, and you don’t need a lot of supplies.

You can either pot them in a pot using potting soil, and grow them as you would any other potted plant. Or, you can also do them in a clear container with rocks or gravel that help support the bulbs. This is an interesting way to grow them because you get to see the roots forming and growing, and the glass also helps to support the foliage.

Sometimes, you’ll see them in a kit that has a container with the bulbs, and some potting soil ready to go. It makes a nice gift presentation. Or, many of the garden centers will have them sold individually. You can buy them out of the bin and pick up as many as you like. You may want to stagger them. Do a few now and then do some more in a couple weeks so you’ll have some throughout the winter months.

Today, we’re going to grow some in glass containers. I’ve already put a few pebbles, or rocks, in the bottom of the container. Next, I’m going to put the bulbs in the container. Then, I’m going to use some other rocks to brace them in there so that they don’t move around too much.

Next, we’re going to add the water. Just pour enough water in to reach the bottom of the bulbs – just around the base. You don’t need to completely submerge the bulb. We don’t want the bulb to rot. So, we’re going to have the water about here. Keep an eye on it. As the water level starts to drop, add a little bit more to maintain the water level at the base of the bulb.

Put this in a nice sunny area. You’ll need to wait several weeks, perhaps three or four weeks, in order to see the shoots growing. They’ll get taller, and you may want to turn the container to keep the stems as straight as possible.

It’s important to keep your Paperwhites in the brightest light possible. If they’re in a very low light situation they tend to get long and gangly, and flop over. So, if at all possible, keep those bulbs in a bright, lighted area so you’ll have a nicer, more compact plant.

Once they start to bloom, move them to a cooler area to help them last a little longer. Paperwhite Narcissus are a great way to enjoy those cold winter months. When you smell the fragrance – there’s nothing like it!

This feature story prepared with Evelyn Neier, Kansas State University Research and Extension Youth Gardening Specialist, 4-H Youth Development. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

Horticulture Newsletter

KSU Horticulture Newsletter

Get more information from our weekly newsletter.

Find Your Local Office

Have questions or need help?

Local Extension Office Map

Click the map to find your Local Extension Office.

YouTube Videos

YouTube Videos

Watch K-State Research and Extension Videos.

Kansas Healthy Yards Tagline