Do your flowers flop? One of my favourite pieces of indoor plant advice that I like to dust off around the holidays concerns preventing your elegant pot of paperwhites from unceremoniously flopping over. I’ve read about this idea in multiple places, but it seems as though it originated from the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University. Rather than allowing paperwhites to grow too tall (which is what leads to the flopping), research has shown you can stunt their growth by adding a surprising ingredient to your watering routine.
Alcohol. Yup, booze will make your paperwhites nice and compact and less likely to droop as a result. Plant the bulbs in stones or glass beads—leave the top half bare and dry. Water normally until the roots start to grow and the shoot is green and about one to two inches long (about one week). Then, replace the water with a four- to six-per cent water/alcohol mix. So, if the spirit is 40 per cent alcohol, you would use one part booze to seven parts water. Stick to the hard stuff—vodka, gin, rum, etc.—as the sugars in beer and wine are not good for the plants.
I’ve heard that you can also do this with amaryllis, but I haven’t tried it. Have you tried this tip with any success?