Garden Inventory is a series where I begin an inventory of all the plants and trees in my garden. Along with some of my own pictures, I will link to various sources of information about each plant and tree so we can learn a little more together.

I would also like to highlight your special plants and tress. Pass along your favorite plants in the comments and I will use them for future Garden Inventory posts. — Douglas

Garden Inventory: Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus)

“Narcissus papyraceus (from papyrus and aceus; meaning paper-like[1]), one of a few species known as “Paperwhite,” is a perennial bulbous plant native to the Mediterranean region. The white flowers are borne in bunches and are strongly fragrant. It is frequently grown as a house plant, often forced to flower at Christmas. Paperwhites are part of the Narcissus genus which includes plants known as daffodils. —

These paperwhites appear each “Spring” (meaning during the Winter rainy season here in Southern California). They are the first bulbs to push up foliage in the garden, followed soon after by the snowbells and then the daffodils. Some people find the smell of paperwhites unpleasant, although I enjoy it. Unfortunately, I once read somewhere that paperwhites can smell like smoldering electrical wiring and, sure enough, that is exactly what I smell now. It can sometimes catch me off-guard when I walk out into the garden.

The previous owners had planted a lot of paperwhites in various beds and they reliably return every year. Where I have added to the daffodils in the garden each year, the paperwhites and snowbells seem to be plentiful enough. There are definitely some spots that could benefit from a few more bulbs, though, so maybe next year I will invest in a bag of paperwhite bulbs.

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 7

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 6 Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 5 Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 4 Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 3 Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 2 Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) - 1

Photos of Paperwhites with closeups of leaves, flowers and stems

More information on Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus):


Previously on Garden Inventory: