Thrifting to Paperwhites

In all the years I’ve been decking out our home for the Holidays, one thing I’ve never tried is Paperwhites! Can you believe that? Last year my friend Meesh from I Dream of Chairs got me thinking about it… but that’s all I did, was ‘think’ about it! So this year after seeing more Paperwhites in the works on different blogs and good ol’ Pinterest, I decided to hop on the PaperwhiteNarcissus bus!

I picked up my bulbs at Home Depot.

Paperwhites from Home Depot

And then headed off on a thrifting expedition for a great pot to put them in!

Here, they’re in my new gold lacquered tray from Pier 1! A big thank you to Nicole from Nicole Scott Designs for the heads up on where to buy the tray!

For my Paperwhites’ pot I had a tarnished silver ‘something’ in mind, but in my hunt I discovered very few options. I thought about buying a stainless pot and DIYing it to look tarnished, but even that idea was easier thought up than executed!

So I picked up this brass urn instead. It had a few scuff marks, and some buildup of who knows what.

Aged Brass Urn

I thought about painting it, but decided to give it a scrub with Barkeepers Friend.

Barkeeper's Friend on Brass

I ended up resorting to toxic Brasso, because the grime wasn’t giving in without a fight. I thought about trying Ketchup, or a Ketchup and Vinegar paste, but I’ve only read about that remedy – have you ever tried it? Did it work???

Even with the Brasso, I still had to use a lot of elbow grease! But finally the little urn came clean :-)

Brass Urn after Polishing

Is it just me, or do you have a hard time photographing shiny brass, too? Honestly, it’s like taking a photograph of a mirror!

Anyway, onto planting up the Paperwhites…

At first I was going to put a pot inside the urn, but decided to build up a bit of drainage and just put the dirt right in instead. I cut a small container down to size and set it into the very bottom of the urn. Then I filled the bottom with little rocks from the Dollar Store.

I cut the bottom out of a plastic plant pot, and set it upside-down over the rocks. I thought this would help the drainage by keeping the dirt up off the rocks a little bit.

Remember my Grunge One & Two pumpkins? Well, I reused some of the dirt from them, and just topped it up.

Paperwhite Bulbs in Dirt

I wasn’t sure how deep to plant the bulbs because of my drainage experiment, so just went by different images I’ve seen. How deep do you plant your Paperwhites? Do you think I should add a bit more dirt, or will my bulbs become too moist?

Next, according to Pam’s tutorial from Simple Details, I watered with luke warm water, and placed the urn in this dark cupboard…

Where it shall stay for about a week, until the bulbs begin to shoot. They are going to shoot, right?

I thought about trying the rocks and water in a clear container method for growing Paperwhites, but decided to save that for another time. Or… I might try that with an Amaryllis instead!

I would like to give Shauna from Satori Design for Living a special shout out for her Holiday countdown series. Without it I might not have realized it was time to stop ‘thinking’ about Paperwhites, and actually start ‘growing’ them if was going to give them a try this year! If you need a little prodding to stay organized coming into the Holidays this year, pop on over to Shauna’s blog. I bet there’s something in her series that will land on your ‘to do before it’s too late’ list!

Do you grow Paperwhites for the Holidays? How about Amaryllis? What are your tips and tricks for success? ‘Cause we all know, the jury’s out on my success for the time being!

Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Photographs by Sheila Zeller

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Comments

  1. I’m glad I stopped by. I didn’t realize it was already time. I did these for the first time last year and there couldn’t be an easier plant to take care of (or not take care of). Just throw them in and off they go. The sad part is they don’t last too long. If you’re doing more than one container spread them across a few weeks so they last longer.

  2. Hey Sheila, thanks for the mention. I’m always happy when I can help a gal out! My paperwhite post is tomorrow, and this year I did try the water method, as well as good old dirt. Crossing fingers it all turns out! Yours are going to be gorgeous in that pot!

  3. I am the WORST at taking care of any sort of living thing. Plants, trees, flowers.. even cactus’. WHO KILLS CACTUS’??!!

    Apparently me,

    I will live vicariously through you :)

  4. That reminds me! I want to try Amaryllis this year. You know, I didn’t use dirt at all in my paperwhites last year. Though they did get a little tippy near the end. I had to tie them together. Putting this planting on my to do list this week. Thanks for the mention! :)

  5. Ohhhh…I love paperwhites..You have gotten me inspired, Thanks Sheila!!!

  6. I have not planted these before but have wanted to try them. I tried amaryllis once. Did not go well. Apparently I cannot grow plants! I’ll keep hoping…

  7. I hope that they work out for you. I purchased some paper whites last year, and kept them all winter and now they are up at least 8 inches, so just in time for the holidays…

    Mine stunk though.. not sure why?

    Oh, that ketchup remedu does not work!

  8. I have some in the cupboard that I keep meaning to plant, but every year I forget. I am going to plant them this weekend, thanks to your post!

  9. Paperwhites are so pretty! Reminds me of the Holiday’s. I love your urn- great job cleaning it- wow! I will have to check out Shauna’s countdown to the Holiday’s. Good stuff to know!

  10. I seem to remember growing paperwhites once way back when I was still living with my parents. And I’ve grown amaryllis a few times. They’re the coolest flower – I’m sure if you sat in front one and watched it, you’d literally be able to see it grow!

    I’ve tried using ketchup to clean copper – it kinda cleaned it a bit, but it didn’t come out shiny and pretty.

    Maybe I’ll pick up some paperwhites and an amaryllis to plant in time for Christmas blooms – thanks for the inspiration :-)

  11. So pretty and definitely reminds me of the holidays:) As much as I would love to try this, they would sadly succumb to my very UNGREEN thumb…I can’t keep any plants alive …like ever! I can’t wait to see your’s though:)

  12. I haven’t grown paper whites yet but I thought this might be the year to try them. I figured I’d wait a little while though so I have them for Christmas but I have no idea about timing. You’ll have to keep us posted on the growth status. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with the plants that I have in our home and watching them grow (most of them).

  13. Ha!!! I’m just like you and don’t get doing it. I’m proud of you to take the initiative. Now I can’t wait to see how they turn out. The bulbs are happy you bought them so that they can celebrate Christmas too. :-)

  14. Whoot Whoot! I won some last year as a door prize…that was easy. OK Sheila. With your help I’m gonna try to grow them too. So cool that you got the tray too!! I love me a coupon I tell ya!

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