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Force Paperwhites for a Fun Kids Project

Paperwhites, or Narcissus, are fragrant and easy to grow spring-blooming bulbs that are available in nurseries and home centers now for fall planting. But did you know that they can be planted any time of the year in pots and ?forced? to bloom? Forcing means simply taking spring-blooming bulbs and tricking them into thinking they have slept though the winter and that it?s time to bloom.

Forcing bulbs is easy, and a great way to get kids involved in the garden. What?s more, they?ll see the results of their efforts in just a few weeks!

To force bulbs: Fill a shallow bowl or other container about halfway full with stones, gravel, beach glass, sand or potting soil. Place paperwhite bulbs in the soil or stones – just deep enough so that they are snug in the dirt and are anchored in place. Plant several bulbs close together so that the flowers bloom close together.

Water them with just enough water so that the bottoms of the bulbs are just touching the water ? too much water and the bulbs will rot and won?t bloom.

The bowl with bulbs should be placed in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks. When roots begin to shoot out of the tops of the bulbs, move them to a brightly lit room. In 4-6 weeks, the flowers will bloom.

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