Last year I confirmed that after a week-long foot bath in fresh water, bulbs grown in a mix of 7:1 water:alcohol (80 proof, 40% by volume) grow to maturity, shorter but stronger, bloom almost as big and are equally long lasting. This overcomes the problem of growing them indoors, in water, where they grow tall and lanky, eventually falling over. That was true for Amaryllis. At the office this year I’m experimenting with paperwhite narcissus — which usually need bracing in their pots, typically shored up with bamboo scaffolding or bound in a broad bow.
Caption: A bowl of paperwhites grown at home: Short and sweet.
Once again I have an “experiment” on alcohol and a “control” on water. Posted here are some before photographs. Near the end I’ll post final photographs for comparison.
The booze de jour last year was vodka, this year it’s gin — just because it’s what we have left over. Nobody in my house are big drinkers, so flushing out the booze cabinet on winter bulbs puts the leftovers to good use.
Suggested reading: The Amaryllis Experiment
FOLLOW UP: Here’s how they’re doing on week four (left on water, right on gin) …
FOLLOW UP: In week seven: The water fed paperwhites in the foreground are flopping over and the alcohol fed paperwhites have completely stalled. Time to get the experiment off alcohol and back on water to help those buds pop …