For many years, I have planted paperwhites to use for my Christmas decor, and then again throughout the winter to have a fresh spot in a dreary time of year. I plant them in some small, black Japanese river rocks in place of potting soil, and I re-use the rocks for years. Some folks do not like the smell of paperwhites, so I am cautious where I place them.
This is the look I am always wanting, with stong, straight foliage.
But here's what often happens. The stems flop and look messy and sad.
I've often resorted to this! Or, sometimes I plant them in the bottom of a tall, straight-sided clear glass vase, so that they are sort of confined, and that makes them look neater.
One day late fall, I was at a wonderful decorating seminar at ADAC, and Kathryn Greeley was the featured speaker. Afterward, I was chatting with her (while eyeing the buffet line at the luncheon), and somehow we talked about paperwhites. She said that she heard that if you add gin to the water for them, that they did not get leggy, but she didn't know what the proportions were.
Well, sweet Tony Conway (caterer extrordinaire from A Legendary Event) overheard us and piped up, "one cup of gin to a gallon of water"!!!!!
And there you have it!!!! I used this "recipe" for my bulbs this year and I had the best, straightest, healthiest, prettiest blooms and foilage, EVER!
Thank you Tony and Kathryn!
This hint didn't get my gifts purchased, my cards printed, my entertaining planned, or my airline reservations made. It didn't sweep up piles and piles of dry pine needles afterward, or sort my decorations into perfectly labled bins, but it did solve one irksome little holiday detail and it made me happy, happy, happy!!!!!