7 Flowering Paperwhite Varieties for Indoor Winter Gardens

If you’re thinking about growing paperwhites this season, check out these beautiful varieties that are certain to bring the beauty of the garden indoors during the winter months.

A close-up of Paperwhite flowers reveals delicate blooms with slender, white petals in full blossom. Each petal holds a slight hint of translucence, evoking a sense of purity and grace. The blooms stand out against a backdrop of vibrant, blurred green leaves, creating a serene garden tableau.


With all of its hustle and bustle, winter tends to be a bit of a downtime for those of us who prefer to spend our free time in the garden. After we’ve put our gardens to bed for the cold dormancy, we are left with a bit of time, and if you’re anything like me, you may be longing for just a small bit of green. Paperwhites are a perfect plant to bridge the gap and perhaps liven up your kitchen table in the process. 

Paperwhites are a type of daffodil in the Narcissus genus, and they are very easy to grow indoors with just a little bit of know-how. Growing these bulbs indoors, or ‘forcing’ them, is a simple process whereby the bulbs are tricked into believing that spring has arrived and it’s time to come back to life. 

These plants grow very quickly in the warmth of your home and can flower in as little as three weeks from planting. Much like Amaryllis bulbs, paperwhites are a common sight around the holidays, and they make a wonderful hostess gift, teacher gift, or a sweet something for any flower lover. 

If you want to bring a bit of the garden indoors, I highly recommend picking up some paperwhite bulbs on your next trip past the local nursery. Most places carry them this time of year, and it’s so simple to grow them that it would be a shame not to. Let’s take a quick look at how it’s done, and then we can talk about some beautiful varieties you can grow indoors this winter. 

Forcing Bulbs 

On a textured brown table, a plate showcases an arrangement of decorative gardening stones. Among them, paperwhite bulbs rest, sprouting fresh, vibrant shoots, a visual display of nature's resilience and the art of forcing bulbs into a radiant, blooming state.
The forcing process isn’t complex and can be done in soil or water.

Forcing paperwhite bulbs is not a difficult process, and it can be done by planting them in soil or with water alone. If you choose to grow them in soil, any container will work as long as it has good drainage. You don’t want to rot your bulbs by keeping them soggy. Use a gravelly or sandy potting mix to keep your bulbs happy. 

If you choose to go the water-only route, you will need a watertight container and some stones or glass marbles. A bud vase flared at the top works very well for forcing bulbs, as the bulb can sit at the top, and only the roots grow down into the water, which is the objective.

You don’t want your bulbs to sit in the water, or they will rot. This is where the pebbles or marbles come into play. You can use a shallow dish and create a sort of pebble tray arrangement, filling the dish with water only to the level of the pebbles. Instead of setting a pot on top of the pebbles, just set your bulbs on top, allowing only the very bottom of the bulb to touch the moisture.

Allow your bulbs to sit for about a week in lower lighting conditions. Bright indirect light is best. This should be enough time for some roots to develop. At the end of the first week, you can move them to a sunny spot where they will get about six hours of sun daily. This is also the point at which you can pickle your paperwhites for shorter, sturdier stems that won’t flop. 



A close-up of the Ziva paperwhite variety exhibiting clusters of pure white blooms. Each bloom holds a vibrant, sunlit yellow center, radiating warmth and vitality amidst a blurred tapestry of verdant, emerald-green leaves.
These flowers boast a potent, spicy, musky perfume and appealing blue-green foliage.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus papyraceus ‘Ziva’
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 16”-18”

Ziva is the most popular variety of paperwhites to force. Unsurprisingly, they are also the most fragrant of the varieties. With abundant white flowers that have a barely there, golden glow in the center, these sweet blooms will liven up any indoor space. 

The fragrance of Ziva is strong and will greet you the moment you enter the room. This is the main reason for their popularity. These flowers have a strong, spicy, musky perfume and attractive blue-green foliage. They tend to have long stems, so pickling them is a must

Grand Soleil d’Or

A close-up of the ‘Grand Soliel d’Or’ variety of paperwhite showcases clusters of delicate blooms. Their yellow petals exude a golden hue, while vibrant orange centers punctuate each flower, all set against a backdrop of lush, blurred green leaves.
Beyond their bright color, these flowers boast a delightfully sweet and fruity scent.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus ‘Grand Soliel d’Or’
bloom-colors bloom colors Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 12”-14”

Bold and bright rays of sunshine spring up from this hybrid variety. Grand Soleil d’Or is a popular variety of paperwhites with deep yellow flowers with orange centers. This variety takes longer to force, so be patient with them. They will reward you handsomely. 

In addition to cheerful color, Grand Soleil d’Or has a very pleasing sweet and fruity fragrance. For those who don’t love the musky fragrance of Ziva, these are a great alternative, and they tend to remain shorter naturally. 


A close-up of the 'Ariel' paperwhite variety showcases tall, slender stems bearing delicate white blooms crowned with vibrant yellow centers. Bathed in sunlight, the flowers exude an ethereal glow against the backdrop of green foliage.
Support is necessary to prevent drooping caused by their rapid growth and large flower heads.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus papyraceus ‘Ariel’
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
height height 12”-15”

Ariel paperwhites are similar in appearance to Ziva, but they are one of the fastest blooming types, so if you want those flowers in a hurry, this is a great variety to plant. They also boast very large flowerheads bearing 14-18 snowy white blooms with just a touch of yellow in the center. 

I highly recommend pickling this variety. The speed with which it grows and the magnitude of its flower heads need extra support to keep them from nodding over. The fragrance is strong and heady and has a classic paperwhite scent of white florals with musk.


A close-up reveals the 'Inbal' paperwhite, a pristine white flower in full bloom, emanating purity. Behind it, verdant stems and leaves form a serene backdrop, enhancing the elegant simplicity of the bloom.
This variety yields numerous flowers, making it perfect for cutting.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus ‘Inbal’
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 16”-18”

If you are not a fan of the stronger fragrance of Ziva or Ariel, Inbal is a wonderful alternative with a much lighter, sweeter fragrance that still has the classic paperwhite look. The pure white blossoms have a shallower cup, and a sprinkle of yellow stamen dot the centers. 

Inbal has stronger stems than other varieties and can bloom in as little as two weeks when planted later in the season. Give them closer to one month early in the season, though. This variety produces a great number of flowers and is a great cut flower.


A close-up exhibits 'Erlicheer' paperwhite variety with its double-petaled flower clusters atop sturdy green stalks. Each cluster forms a mesmerizing ensemble, showcasing nature's intricacy and charm within its verdant framework.
This stunning variety boasts creamy double blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’
bloom-colors bloom colors Cream
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 14”-16”

Extra is the word for this variety. Erlicheer is a stunning variety with a double-petaled flower form. These extra special blooms are a creamy white with a golden glow from within. These pretty flowers feel both elegant and fanciful at the same time. 

Erlicheer has slender stems, so pickling is a good idea for these. The flower clusters are large and can be quite heavy. These have a strong but sweet fragrance with less of a musky undertone for those who don’t prefer it. 


A close-up of 'Wintersun' paperwhite, with its snow-white petals and sun-kissed yellow centers glistening under the radiant sunlight. The delicate blooms exude a serene vibrancy, basking in the gentle warmth that accentuates their timeless allure.
Compared to the classic fragrances, ‘Wintersun’ offers a lighter, sweeter scent.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus ‘Wintersun’
bloom-colors bloom colors White and Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 12”-16”

If you want a more classic daffodil appearance with some classic sunny yellow mixed in, Wintersun is a perfect variety for you! The flowers have white outer petals with a bright yellow center and orange stamens. The flowers are small, but the flowerheads are large and spherical.

This variety has a lighter and sweeter fragrance than some more classically fragranced types. Not everyone appreciates the heady musk of a Ziva paperwhite, and Wintersun allows you to have all the beauty with just a slight bit of the fragrance. 

Chinese Sacred Lily

The 'Chinese Sacred Lily' paperwhite reveals a profusion of lush, numerous blooms with large, pristine white petals and captivating peach-hued centers. Against a backdrop of emerald leaves, these blossoms create a picturesque spectacle of nature's splendor and grace.
The snow-white petals and vibrant yellow cups of ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’ resemble ‘Wintersun’ flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Narcissus ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’
bloom-colors bloom colors White and Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 12”-18”

This variety has a fun connotation. If your Chinese Sacred Lily paperwhites bloom on Chinese New Year, it means you will have a year of good fortune, and who doesn’t want that? The flowers resemble Wintersun, with snow-white petals and a brilliant yellow cup.

The flowers appear in groups of five to ten on each stem, making these a bit lighter than other types. They are known for having a strong, sweet fragrance that evokes spiced oranges. These are a perfect variety if you want a more fruity scent than a musky one.

Final Thoughts

Paperwhites are a great way to bring the garden indoors for the winter. They make great gifts for teachers, coworkers, or yourself! Growing these lovely flowers is simple, and with so many beautiful varieties available, it’s hard to pick just one.

Clusters of fragrant lavender flowers bloom gracefully alongside tall pink hollyhock flowers. The lush green foliage provides a vibrant backdrop, showcasing the delicate petals and adding depth to the garden bed's colors and textures.


31 Best Flowers for Winter Sowing

The best time to sow many of our favorite flowers is in the winter. Sound crazy? Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she goes through 31 flowers to sow in the winter to get you a headstart on a lovely spring and an abundant summer garden.

A cluster of orange calla lilies gracefully reaching towards the sky. Each flower exhibits a unique curve and contour, showcasing the intricacy of its petals as they unfold, creating a mesmerizing dance of color and form.


How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calla Lilies

Have you ever seen a beautiful bouquet of calla lilies and thought they must be time-consuming or difficult to grow? Well, they are very easy to care for. Gardening expert Kelli Klein walks you through how to plant, grow, and care for this flowering perennial. Even if you live in a growing zone where the ground freezes, you can still grow calla lilies!

By the window, a black-potted succulent thrives with leggy leaves, reaching out in luscious green hues. The foliage sprawls gracefully, cascading in an intricate pattern, adding an elegant touch to the room's ambiance.


Why Houseplants Get Leggy and How to Fix It

Leggy growth is one of the most common houseplant problems, caused largely by incorrect sunlight levels. Houseplant expert Madison Moulton explains the causes behind leggy growth and what you can do to fix and prevent the problem.

Close-up of Calanthe orchid discolor flowering plants in a garden against a blurred background. Its robust, pleated leaves form an attractive basal rosette with a glossy, dark green hue. Rising from the center of this foliage are tall, slender spikes bearing clusters of enchanting flowers. The blossoms, which have burgundy-brown petals and sepals, and white petals and labellums, feature a distinctive lip with intricate patterns.


How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Calanthe Orchids

Interested in working some Calanthe orchids into your landscape or container garden next season? Want to know how to care for the Christmas orchid houseplant you received as a gift? In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros offers a detailed look at the novice-friendly Calanthe orchid genus.