This Can’t Be Right

This is not how I imagined it to be.

Paperwhites are delicate flowers, peeking out to brighten a room, a classic Southern indoor flower for the Christmas holiday season as well as a welcome sign of spring in the garden.

So why do I seem to be growing a refugee from Jack and the Beanstalk land?!?
A friend gave me a Paperwhite growing kit because she loved the pot and thought I would as well (she was right). In all honesty, the Ziva Paperwhite bulbs were really just an add-on to a really cool pot.

On April 14th, I read and followed all of the instructions to grow the Paperwhites.

(This in itself is pretty remarkable for me. By reading the instructions, I learned why my last attempt to grow Paperwhites was an abject failure. But more on that later.)

Two weeks later, One bulb had sent up a tentative green shoot, a 2nd had stuck a nose in the air, so to speak, and the 3rd was sitting doing bupkis.

Three weeks later, one bulb really had started growing, the 2nd seemed content with its nose in the air and I threw the 3rd bulb away. Truthfully, I wanted to toss the 2nd as well but was dissuaded by a colleague who said it might be – and this is an exact quote – “a late bloomer.”

At the end of last week, bulb #1 had really gone on a growth spurt and was leaning somewhat sideways from the weight of its leaves. This past Monday, our resident plant lover (note: this is not me), put a dowel rod in the pot to help anchor the stems – attaching everything with a loosely wrapped rubber band.

We measured its height at that time: 24 inches. Yes, that’s 2 feet tall.

What’s really remarkable is that I measured the growth this morning. Since Monday, it’s grown another two inches.

I am no plant expert, but I’m thinking that at some point this darn flower has to, well, FLOWER. There’s nothing pretty, nor delicate, about a 2-foot-plus tall Ziva Paperwhite, let alone one without any white flowers.

I’m very disappointed and wondering what on earth I could have done wrong? After all, the instructions clearly said that “Paperwhites are very easy to grow.”

I think they are lying. I think they meant to say “Paperwhites are very easy to plant.”

But perhaps not…back to my last failed attempt at growing Paperwhites. I thought Paperwhites would make a nice gift for my female colleagues. I bought some cool square vases, lined them with pebbles and put in bulbs and water, just as my Southern Living instructions told me to do.

Five weeks later – no Paperwhites. I finally threw them out.

It wasn’t until April 14th, when I actually read and followed my latest set of instructions that I realized my error. Did you know that you are supposed to put the bulbs in “with the pointed ends up“?

2 Comment

  1. Stan says: Reply

    Hey girl,
    Are you sure you aren’t growing onions. That’s what it looks like. 🙂 I stick with violets. I kill everything else even my bird.

    Just thought I would leave you a comment and let you know we are freezing down her in the south of Brazil. Go figure.

    Have a great day.


  2. My dad thought it looked like an onion plant, too.

    He sent me instructions. Aapparently, if you want to keep your paperwhite from growing too tall, you replace the water with a 4-6% alcohol solution when the shoots are 1-2″ tall.

    In otherwords, a drunk paperwhite can’t grow very tall. 🙂

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