Grow Stronger Paperwhites

Cornell University’s Flowerbulb Research Program has demonstrated that the addition of gin (or any other hard alcohol, including rubbing alcohol) will help you grow better paperwhites.  The alcohol will stunt the growth of the paperwhites and prevent them from that annoying habit of getting too top-heavy and flopping over.

how to grow stronger paperwhitesShot found via winemakerssister and originally from Domino Magazine.

According to Professor of Horticulture William B. Miller, here’s the recipe:

  • Plant your paperwhite bulbs in stones, gravel, marbles, glass beads, etc. as usual.
  • Add water as you normally would, then wait about 1 week until roots are growing, and the shoot is green and growing about 1-2″ above the top of the bulb.
  • At this point, pour off the water and replace it with a solution of 4 to 6% alcohol, made from just about any “hard” liquor.
  • Use this solution, instead of water, for further irrigation (watering) of your bulbs.

The result will be a plant that is 1/3 shorter, but with flowers just as large, fragrant, and long-lasting as usual.

smaller stronger paperwhites

Left is normal watering, right is with gin added.

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Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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