There are many different varieties of Paperwhites to choose from, but Paperwhite ‘Ziva’ is by far the most popular.
Paperwhite Ziva is a cultivar of Narcissus papyraceus known for its strong stems and clusters of pure white mini daffodil flowers. The most popular variety of Paperwhite bulbs, the Ziva cultivar is offered by bulb sellers and in indoor gardening kits sold in the fall. Paperwhite ‘Ziva’ plants grow to reach 18″-22″ tall. Most bulbs produce a single stem holding a cluster of 6-8 flowers.
Read on to learn all about Paperwhite Ziva.
Paperwhite Ziva basics
Paperwhite Ziva, Narcissus papyraceus ‘Ziva’, is the most popular variety of Paperwhite flower available. This type of Paperwhite is preferred because the flower stems grow to be quite strong. Each stem grows about 4-10 flower heads, with 6-8 being the most common range. The flowers are about an inch wide each. They have white petals and white central crowns with yellow stamens in the very center. Most Ziva Paperwhite plants grow to be 16″-20″ tall.
Paperwhite Ziva typically bloom for 1-2 weeks during November-March. The time of blooming depends upon when they are planted. Forcing Paperwhites indoors is the most common method of growing these bulbs, but they can also be planted in outdoor gardens in warm areas in Zones 9-11.
Other popular paperwhite cultivars include ‘Israel’, ‘Ariel’, and ‘Nazareth’.
Buying Paperwhite Ziva bulbs & plants
Paperwhite Ziva is commonly available from garden centers and online bulb nurseries. Bulbs can generally be ordered online from spring-fall and are then shipped by the nursery in time for fall planting. Ziva Paperwhites are generally only stocked on brick-and-mortar store shelves in the fall.
How to plant Paperwhite Ziva bulbs
Paperwhite Ziva can be planted in water or in potting mix. These forgiving plants are not very fussy about how they are planted as long as they have some water available.
Planting Paperwhite Ziva in water
Paperwhite Ziva is easy to plant in water. The key is to suspend the bulb above a reservoir of water so that only the very bottom of the bulb touches the water’s surface. This can be achieved with a glass bulb vase or by filling the bottom of a vase with pebbles.
If using a bulb vase, fill it with water up to the narrowest point. If using a vase with pebbles in it, pour a couple of inches of pebbles into the bottom. Then add water so the water is just at the top of the pebbles.
Place the Ziva Paperwhite bulb into the vase. If using pebbles, you may wish to add a few pebbles around the sides to hold the bulb upright. Check to make sure that the bottom of the bulb is only barely touching the water’s surface. If a significant portion of the bulb is sitting in water, it may rot.
Planting Paperwhite Ziva in soil
Ziva Paperwhites are quite commonly planted in potting mix. Many Ziva Paperwhite kits include a bit of potting soil and a small container to plant them in. This is a great beginner gardening project (or gardening gift).
Start by filling the bottom of the pot with a moist potting mix. Leave a couple of inches at the top of the pot. Place the Paperwhite ‘Ziva’ bulb on the bed of potting mix. Add potting mix around the sides of the bulb to hold it in. Leave the tip of the bulb showing above the soil surface. Water the container after planting. Check to see that water is draining well out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter.
Caring for Paperwhite Ziva plants
Caring for Paperwhites is a relatively easy task when compared to most other flowering bulbs. They seem to sprout all on their own without any help from us! That said, there are a few tricks to caring for Ziva Paperwhites.
After planting, keep the bulbs in a cool spot indoors. The ideal temperature for sprouting bulbs is in the range of 50°-60°F (10°-16°C), but bulbs will also sprout at room temperature. Move them to a warmer spot near a bright sunny window as soon as the roots and stems start to grow. Try to keep them somewhere where they’ll remain below 70°F (21°C), as they can grow tall and leggy in warm temperatures. Paperwhites forced in cooler temperatures (60°-65°F,16°-18°C) tend to grow stronger, stockier stems (making them less likely to fall over).
Ensure the base of the bulbs is moist as the roots start to form. Ziva Paperwhite bulbs planted in water alone should barely touch the surface of the water. Once the roots are growing downwards, the water level should be lowered to below the bulb itself, with only the roots dangling into the water. Paperwhites growing in potting mix should be watered whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry.
How do I care for my Ziva paperwhites?
After planting, keep the bulbs in a cool spot indoors. Move them to a warmer spot near a bright sunny window as soon as the roots and stems start to grow. Ensure the base of the bulbs is moist as the roots start to form. Bulbs planted in water alone should barely touch the surface of the water. Once the roots are growing downwards, the water level should be lowered to below the bulb itself, with only the roots dangling into the water. Paperwhites growing in potting mix should be watered whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry.
Can Ziva paperwhites be planted outside?
Paperwhites can be planted in outdoor gardens in warm areas in Zones 8-11.
How tall do Ziva paperwhites get?
Paperwhite ‘Ziva’ plants grow to reach 18″-22″ tall.
Are paperwhites annual or perennial?
Paperwhites are perennial in their native environment, but are commonly grown as annuals in cooler regions. Paperwhites that have bloomed indoors and are then planted outdoors in warm climates likely will not bloom for a couple of years, as the bulbs will need a season or two to build up enough stored energy to set a flower bud. Paperwhites grown outdoors will only come back every year in warm climate areas in Zones 8-11.