Wild Wonders: Winter Growing – Paperwhite Planting


  • Paperwhite bulb
  • Small stones (collect from outside and wash)
  • Clean, clear container (a recycled jar will work great!)
  • Water

Before You Explore:

Can you grow a plant in winter? Can you grow it without soil?

Paperwhites are fragrant, winter-blooming flower bulbs. In warmer climates (not Maine!), the bulbs may be planted outdoors in fall to produce blooms in late winter/early spring. In colder climates, paperwhite bulbs are grown indoors to produce flowers during the winter months. Yes, these grow in the winter!

Watch this amazing time-lapse of paperwhite bulbs growing! https://bit.ly/paperwhitetimelapse

Connect with Nature:

  • Go outside with your jar and collect small stones. Collect enough stones to fill the jar about half way full.
  • Next place a paperwhite bulb on top of the stones – root side down.
  • Place a few stones around the bulb to anchor it so it doesn’t tip over in the jar.
  • Leave the top of the bulb showing above the stones.
  • Add water until the level reaches just below the base of the bulb, but no higher. (If the base of the bulb sits in water it will rot).
  • Set your container in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
  • Check the water level of your container often. Keep the water just below the bulb.
  • After a week, peek to see if it has begun to produce roots, but don’t disturb the bulb. When the roots are very obvious (about 3 weeks), move the bulb to a sunny window and watch it continue to grow and, eventually, bloom!

Dive Deeper!

Use the growth tracker we’ve included (or create a daily tracker) to observe your bulb’s growth over time.  Bulb Observation Tracker

Predict: When will you see roots develop? What week will it start to grow a leaf? Will it grow the same amount each week? How long will it take to bloom?

Research: What’s the difference between these big bulbs and smaller seeds we plant in spring?

Share: Take photos to track the changes and send ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics to !