decorating for christmas with paperwhite narcissi

Decorating for Christmas with Paperwhite NarcissiHow do you fancy an incredibly beautiful, long lasting, deliciously scented and spectacular table centre which will be at its best over Christmas and New Year? You can make it little or large, and that can mean huge if you have the space. It will be the talk of your friends and isn’t expensive.

You will need:

  • 60 Narcissus Paperwhite bulbs
  • 3 pots of decreasing size: the largest to fit in the middle of your table to form the base of the arrangement; a smaller one to stack on top; and then a final one on top of that, small enough to enable a row of bulbs to encircle it in the next layer down. Narcissus bulbs are large, with an extensive root structure, so deep pots are ideal.
  • Planting medium made up of ⅔ loam-based compost, ⅓ grit
  • Bunch of 1m long silver birch twigs
  • Small silver and clear Christmas baubles

How to Get the Look

You can plant the bulbs in plastic pots (or buy already planted) and then move them into your final table centre as they come into flower, or do them straight into their final planting pot from the start. If planting them yourself, do so in mid November, with the narcissi bulbs just below the soil surface, about 2.5cm apart into a loam-based compost, lightened with some grit. Store the pots somewhere cold, with a temperature below 10°C. Keep the compost moist but not dripping wet.

Once they really start to shoot, with leaves up to 20-25cm (8-10in), bring them in to the warm. If they’re still in plastic pots, transfer them into your three final pots, layer by layer. Pack the flowering bulbs in as thickly as you can and then poke in a handful of silver birch or hazel twigs in every layer to support them. This looks lovely and staves off collapse, keeping the whole thing looking good for longer.

The final touch, drape the birch twigs with silver and clear glass baubles and surround the whole thing with a halo of pillar candles on the table. With this transferred to your Christmas dining table, who needs a Christmas tree?