How to Force Bulbs Into Bloom
For a hint of spring any time of year, coax bulbs into flowering indoors.
Pungently fragrant paperwhite narcissus are easy to force. You can start them from October through January―enough time for several batches of blooms if you plant bulbs every few weeks (always store unused bulbs in a paper bag at room temperature). There are a number of popular varieties, such as Ziva (shown), Galilee, and Ariel.
How to plant: A tall glass or ceramic container with no drainage holes is best. Pour in two inches of pebbles that have been rinsed free of dust. Add a tablespoon or two of rinsed aquarium charcoal (so the water won't smell "off"), then more pebbles. Place three bulbs, root-side down and almost touching one another, on top. Add enough tepid water to reach just below the bottoms of the bulbs. Replenish when the level falls by a quarter inch.
You'll see blooms: In four to six weeks. Once the blossoms die, toss the bulbs; they won't flower again. Reuse the pebbles for the next batch.