Paper whites are a happy compliment to the holidays, and because they flower from the bulb within four to six weeks, it’s almost time to start pots for holiday blossoms.

Here at FrenchGardenHouse, I use white flowers for the holiday season. I plant amaryllis and paper white bulbs in antique French containers, so that they add a peaceful and fresh elegance to our home.


The most appealing about the paper white clusters on our tabletops and sideboards is that they are elegant, but in an unfussy manner.


And then, of course, their is their delicious scent, a distinct perfume that envelops our home in fragrance just that one time of year.




If you buy the bulbs and everything else you need now, and plant your bulbs the first week in November, you will have a gorgeous display of paperwhites to fill your rooms with fragrance by early December.


If you’ve never done this, don’t worry!

It’s easy, and I know you can do this.

You can either buy special glass containers at a garden center to plant a bulb in, or just plant a bunch in a shallow pot or one of the antique French containers we sell.






1. Choose a shallow container. Fill with high quality soil, any commercially available potting soil will work well, or with pebbles at least four inches deep.




2. Plant your bulbs about 2-3 inches deep, pointy end up, close together for a beautiful display.  Cover the bulbs until just the top inch and a half is above the soil, if using pebbles, the bulb should be supported by the pebbles but not buried all the way.




3. Cover with moss. {optional, I like how this looks for pots with soil, and it keeps your soil moist.} Water but don’t soak.

Keep an eye on the watering, the soil should not be dry, but not soaking wet either, bulbs rot under too wet conditions.




4. Place the pot in a bright, sunny spot.

Not hot, though. I usually keep our bulbs on my kitchen counter by the farm sink, right next to the window.

Lots of light will prevent the stalks from growing too tall and floppy. Roots will appear in a week or two.



The paper whites grow quickly, and it’s great fun to watch their daily progress. You’ll be enjoying the pristine white flowers and fragrance in a few short weeks, just when the holidays are here. 


If you are planting in an antique French container, please line the container with a plastic bag if using soil.


Some of our antique containers which work well for a paper white display:

Antique French Chateau Enameled Jardiniere

Rare Large Art Deco French Chateau Jardiniere

19th Century French Cherub Jardiniere


Antique Hand Painted Limoges Planter






Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop



  1. I do this every year! The day after Thanksgiving I put the bulbs in containers, cover with pebbles, water a little and then watch them grow. They’ll be in bloom by Christmas. I like to plant a few bulbs so they’ll be in bloom for Valentine’s Day, also. Just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without paperwhites around the house. They remind me of my grandmother who always had them in her house.

  2. Thank you Shirley. It’s incredible to realize it’s almost that time of year again, isn’t it? Happy weekend to you, friend

  3. Vicky, the paper whites remind me of my Mom, too. I love your idea of planting more for Valentines Day. I’m going to do that next year. Wishing you a beautiful weekend, xo Lidy

  4. Peggy Cooper

    Thanks for the reminder to get started. I’m usually late getting amaryllis started to be ready for Christmas. I’m thinking I can use a soup tureen that I never use for soup to start some paperwhites!

  5. You have inspired me to give it a try, thank you for the stip by step instructions. For someone that loves to garden as much as I do …. I have never done this so Thank you!

    1. Pam, I hope you try it, I’ve had great success with bulbs. And I still buy some planted ones, too.

      Never enough flowers at Christmas time!

    1. Christi,
      I hope you will try it- it’s fun, and super easy. I love when I can fill our
      home with these white beauties…plus my kids always really
      loved watching them grow!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top