Narcissus bulbs can be grown indoors in vases

Published on Thursday, 6 March 2014 00:15 - Written by Dee Bishop In Our Garden

Ice is devastating, especially this late in winter.

In all my life, I have never seen an ice storm come later than January. Coming at this time, when our early spring trees, shrubs and flowers are in full bloom, is unheard of. But we must remember, this is Texas and what is out of the ordinary always happens sooner or later.

We are all wondering how much damage has been done, and we won’t know for a while. I looked at my daffodils today and some are actually holding up pretty well, but the heavy headed ones like this narcissus, look completely mushy. Their little stems turned to mush and can’t hold up the heavy clusters of flowers.

Take a look at this little ice-embellished narcissus. Grandma called them paperwhites. They bloom early and have a very strong but lovely fragrance. I never bring these into my house because of their over powering fragrance, but I love looking at them and smelling them outdoors where their fragrance isn’t so strong. There are several varieties of what are known as Tazetta hybrids. Grand Monarch, Seventeen Sisters, Avalanche and others such as these old paperwhites.

Paperwhites are often forced in vases during winter as are many other bulbs. It is fun to watch them grow and bloom, but I find the fragrance too strong inside. If you have ever tried forcing narcissus bulbs, you may have had trouble with them falling over (I did).

I read online that if you add one part alcohol (rubbing alcohol or vodka) to seven parts water to force them in, the foliage will grow much shorter and stand up straight. I haven’t tried this yet, but you may wish to do so next fall. The information I read said not to use beer or wine because of the sugar content, which will cause rot.

I have an idea that all our little bulbs will be fine. They are used to extreme weather and have become Texas tough because of it.


Dee Bishop is a Smith County Master Gardener. She writes about plants growing within the Tyler Rose Garden.