What kind of soil do paperwhites like?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Paperwhites prefer a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. They are not very picky when it comes to the type of soil, but it is important to ensure good drainage to prevent the bulbs from rotting. A loose and friable soil is ideal for paperwhites.

One option is to use a potting soil specifically formulated for bulbs. These types of soils are usually well-draining and provide the necessary nutrients for the bulbs to grow and bloom. When using a potting soil, make sure it is fresh and not compacted. It is also a good idea to mix in some perlite or sand to improve drainage.

Another option is to grow paperwhites in a gravel or pebble medium. This method is popular because it allows you to see the roots of the bulbs as they grow. To do this, you would need a container that is water tight, such as a glass or ceramic pot, so that the water does not drain out. Choose small-sized gravel or pebbles that are about the size of marbles. Fill the container with the gravel, leaving enough space for the bulbs to be settled in.

To plant paperwhites in gravel, simply place the bulbs on top of the gravel, pointed end up, and gently press them into the gravel so they are supported. Make sure the bulbs are not buried too deep, as this can hinder their growth. Then, add enough water to the container so that it reaches just below the base of the bulbs. The water should not touch the bottoms of the bulbs, as this can lead to rotting.

One advantage of growing paperwhites in gravel is that it eliminates the need for soil altogether. However, it is important to monitor the water level and ensure that it does not completely dry out. You may need to add more water as needed to maintain the proper moisture level. Additionally, some gardeners recommend adding a diluted fertilizer solution to the water every few weeks to provide nutrients to the bulbs.

Paperwhites can be grown in both potting soil and gravel. The choice of medium depends on personal preference and the type of container you have. Whether you choose soil or gravel, make sure it is well-draining and provides the necessary support for the bulbs. With proper care, your paperwhites will thrive and reward you with their beautiful blooms.