make | Earth Day Paper-White Project

One of the things people don't realize about being green is that the most sustainable thing you can do is not buying at all.  New products, even ones that are earth concious, require materials and processes that could otherwise be saved if you just use what you already own (or buy something vintage). 

This is a project made with things I already had around my apartment - except, of course, the paperwhite bulbs. Earth Day is actually a hoarders favorite holiday!

  • jars : the two clear jars once contained home-made fleur de sel carmel and strawberry preserves. the blue one I found in a thrift store at the coast
  • rocks
  • ribbon : the canvas ribbon was saved from a christmas present Amanda gave me two years ago, and the fern embroidered ribbon is vintage from the Sally Shim tag sale.
  • ziva paperwhite bulbs
  1. the paperwhite bulbs pictured have roots and a little sprout because I had already "started" them for a work project. Though they aren't very pretty, starting with just a bare bulb is ideal. Luckily, they start growing about 48 hours after they're placed over water
  2. tie old ribbon around the old jars.
  3. fill the jar with at least 2 inches of rocks. The bulbs don't require any nutrients from them, just a place to anchor their roots
  4. fill the jar with water, stopping about a 1/4 inch from the rocks surface. If the bulb sits in water it could rot. 
  5. allow the bulb to root in a cool dark place. Once leaves start to push through the husk, put it in filtered sunlight and get ready for paperwhite blooms. they'll look something like this
(photos and project design) by Samantha Shorey


  1. Lovely! I just used paperwhites in a poem. Just love the word even. :)

    1. oh my gosh, me too Andee! I love descriptive compound words like that - skyscraper is another favorite.

  2. I love paperwhites- but I can only find them here in the winter. We always grow them around the holidays and it's so nice to have something green and fragrant in the depths of winter.

    Love your point about the best thing for the planet being not to consume! There are so many eco-friendly products out there that it's easy to forget that.

  3. So glad that you kept the ribbon — it was one of my favorites. :) And your photos are just lovely, Samantha. Especially the one of the materials needed; it looks so professional, and yet very sweet.

  4. i love this! i know nothing about plants and flowers, i'm going to find out where i can get these in sydney. question, do you need to change the water every now and then or something? are they pretty easy to grow?

    1. they are great for the winter (which is on it's way in Syndey, right?). It's like your very own spring.

      growing them was so (so!) easy. I just put the bulb over water and - BAM! I'm going to post a few pictures of them in bloom next week. The water doesn't need to be changed, just refilled.


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