River rocks to be more specific. Today I want to show you a quick and budget friendly little project that I tossed together last night. If I timed it right (IhopeIhopeIhope) and they don't die (pleasepleaseplease), I will have some pretty little blooms at Christmas to help combat the heavy winter gloom that inevitably works into my head every year. Paperwhites are easy flowers to grow in the winter, and you don't even have to have soil! I am a big fan of having plants in the house, I think it makes the air feel cleaner, and the mood just a little more cheerful.
On to the show!
Step 1: Gather supplies.
I used a bag of black river rocks from Lowe's ($4.98), four paperwhite narcissus bulbs out of a kit that I also got at Lowe's ($5.98) and an 11" decorative bowl from Meijer ($19.99). Both the bowl and the river rocks can be reused in the home after your flowers have gone to a better place (moment of silence). Oh, and you'll need some water, but I'll get to that later. If you can't find river rocks that you like, or you just want to do something different, you can use any non-metal vase filler-like material. I'd love to use those plastic gem shaped filler beads, or even clear glass marbles in the future for a whole different look. Or bright colored pony beads would be fun!
Step 2: Lay a base.
Use about half of your rocks to create a base in your bowl. It should be at least an inch above the bottom of the bowl so when roots develop they have somewhere to go. Try to place the rocks rather than pour them in, I think I came very close to having a shattered bowl because I was impatient.
Step 3: Seat the bulbs.
Pop the bulbs into the bowl, root side down. In my bowl I tried to keep them in the middle-ish, since farher out to the side the bowl gets shallow again and the little rootsies might not like that.
Step 4: Rock blanket.
Use the rest of the rocks to secure the bulbs in their places and keep them from tipping over. Unless you have a ton of rocks they won't be completely covered, it's okay, they don't need to be. They just need some stability since as they grow they become top heavy and might try to topple and jump ship.
Step 5: Water and wait.
Add water to the bowl until it just covers the bottom of the bulbs. Too much water can cause the bulbs to rot, which would be a bad thing. I learned that a clear bowl is pretty handy for seeing exactly how high the water level is. I can see that my bulbs aren't drowning and I can see when I need to add more water. Now all I can do is wait. It should only take a few weeks for the paperwhites to grow and begin to bloom. And after they bloom, they should stay pretty for a few more weeks. I'll try to post a few progress pictures as these babies grow. I've heard that paperwhites are really hard to kill, so the odds are with me on this one.
One more VERY important note is that paperwhites are part of the daffodil family, which are toxic to pets. Your pets shouldn't ingest any part of the plant, but the bulbs are the worst for them. You can bet your ass that if Zula even looks at this arrangement for too long it will go live at my parents cat-free house, up on a counter away from the dog. So far Zula hasn't shown any interest and the bowl has been sitting on my table for more than a day, so I think we are in the clear, at least until stalks and flowers start to grow. If you have a kitten or a cat that really likes to chew on things I would recommend that you keep this in a room that they are never allowed in, or skip this project altogether.