Paperwhite Daffodils

Paperwhites are officially assigned to Division 8, the Tazetta Daffodils. However, they are so popular in their own right that many catalogues provide a special section just for Paperwhites.

Paperwhites are cultivated varieties of the species Narcissus papyraeus, which is native to the eastern Mediterranean. Not surprisingly, Paperwhites can only be grown in the very warmest areas (zones 8 - 11). However, their popularity comes from the fact that they are the very easiest bulbs to force to bloom indoors.

Not only that, they all have wonderful, sometimes intoxicating, fragrances. In addition, all produce multiple blooms; some will have as many as a dozen flowers per bulb. Who wouldn't want some of these prolific, fragrant flowers blooming inside during the cold dreary winder months?

Many nurseries, supermarkets, and hardware stores will sell Paperwhites already packaged for indoor forcing, especially in November and December. However, it is much cheaper to order the bulbs and do it yourself. (For instructions on how to force bulbs indoors, see Indoor Forcing.)

All varieties are fragrant, as indicated by the asterisk (*) after the name of the variety. Those which are most fragrant have two asterisks.

Flowering time:zones 8 - 11: winter blooming
otherwise to be used for indoor forcing
Plant height:12 - 20" (30 - 50 cm)
Minimum planting depth:in garden: 5" (12 cm)
when forcing, soil is not required; use a medium, such as pebbles, to keep bulbs upright
Hardiness zones:suitable for zones 8 - 11
otherwise only for indoor forcing
Colours:white, yellow, and orange; may have tinges of green
Shape/form:most produce multiple blooms per stem, some up to a dozen blossoms per stem
most have single cups, but a few are double (e.g. Erlicheer).
Alternate names:a subtype of Tazetta Narcissi
Notes:outstanding for indoor forcing; bulbs do not need to be chilled as a part of the initial indoor forcing process; intoxicating fragrance
Example varieties:Bethlehem* (white petals, yellow cup), Chinese Sacred Lily** (white petals, yellow cup), Erlicheer* (white petals, double white cup), Galilee* (white), Grand Soleil D'Or** (yellow petals, light orange cup), Nazareth* (greenish-white overlapping petals, light greenish-yellow cup), Omri* (white petals, yellow cup), Ziva**/sometimes just called "Paperwhite" (white)

Jerusalem Grand Soleil d'Or Omri


Erlicheer Ziva


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Last modified: October 12, 2008