Make: Crocus and Paperwhite Potted Bulb Gifts

I have a long list of people who do kind things for me on the regular, so every time the holidays roll around I try to keep an eye out for a simple & beautiful something I can give to quite a few friends without breaking the bank.

I’ve always loved having clear vases of paperwhites all over the house come January, and this year there was an excess of mason jars hanging out in the kitchen. It led to this year’s perfect solution for an army of giftees – crocus and paperwhite potted bulb gifts!

A crocus bulb planted in a mason jar with moss and rocks

This makes a lovely eco-friendly DIY holiday gift that keeps on giving all winter long! The bulbs can be kept long after they’ve bloomed and can be kept in the same jar, repotted, or planted outdoors. Should they outgrow the mason jars, plant lovers can repurpose the glass containers into DIY terrariums!

Two of our crocus and paper white bulb gifts decorated with ribbons.

To make your own crocus and paperwhite potted bulb gifts you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • Clay pots, simple glass vases (like this) or mason jars (I used 1/2 pint & pint wide-mouth jars)
  • Potting soil
  • Rocks or pebbles (I used this kind)
  • Live sheet moss or peat moss (like this)
  • Paperwhite or Crocus bulbs
  • Water


  • Instead of Paperwhite or Crocus, you can also use other water-blooming bulbs like Amaryllis, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, or Dutch Iris

DIY Potted Crocus and Paperwhite Holiday Gift Instructions:

Choose your bulbs

Pick your favorite kind of bulbs! If you don’t plant your mini-gardens right away, be sure to store your bulbs in a cool, dry place and your moss (if it’s live) in a cool, damp place.
Press 1-3 crocus or paperwhite bulbs into the moss.
I used a mixture of tall, full, bright white Paperwhites (also known as Narcissus) and shorter bright purple and yellow Crocus.

Fill the bottom of a glass jar with potting soil

The roots of crocus and paperwhites only need 3″ of space to grow, so fill the bottom of your jar with a layer of soil for moisture.
Fill bottom of jar with potting soil.

Add a 1 to 2-inch layer of rocks, pebbles, or gardening grit

Add a layer of rocks for drainage, I used white marble rocks because I love their fresh, bright look.
Use marble nuggets or small pebbles to cover the soil

Top with sheet moss or similar

Push down some sheet moss into the jar – this will hold the bulb in place (it’s also the touch that takes it from “bulb in a jar” to “mini winter garden”).
Top your soil and rock-filled glass jar with moss.
I used live sheet moss from the local garden store. I recommend buying the live stuff if you can – it’s a cheery festive green, it insulates the bulb, holds just a bit of water (even when dried out) and a little goes a LONG way. I probably only used about a 5 in. x 5 in. square for the 20 I put together tonight.

Gently tuck 1-3 bulbs into the moss

1 Paperwhite bulb fits perfectly in a wide-mouth pint jar and 3 Crocus in the 1/2 pint wide-mouths.
Planted crocus and paperwhite bulbs make a simple and eco-friendly holiday gift that blooms in January! | via barley & birch

Add cute decorations or gift tags!

For a finishing touch, an ornament, sprig of winter greenery, and gift tag adorn our finished gifts. Add your own personal touches for a gift that makes it from YOU!Three of our crocus and paper white bulb gifts decorated with gift tags and little Santas

Personally, I think they are super cute as is in the clear jars, but if you are feeling a dressed-up version, we wrapped some of ours in paper bags + twine and are loving the look. You could also use some colorful DIY phonebook wrapping paper.

A DIY potted crocus gift wrapped in a paper bag with ribbon and twine.

This is truly a great gift for kids to make (so quick and easy). Pass along a love of gardening on to school friends, or gift these (along with some natural DIY honey goat’s milk soap) to a gardening enthusiast. No matter who the recipient is, these little potted bulbs are truly the gift that keeps on giving, because come January your present will be blooming!

Our crocus and paperwhite bulb mason jar gifts sitting on wooden shelves with holiday packages.

For more earth-friendly holiday gift ideas be sure to visit our collection of DIY gift ideas, make a set of heart hand warmers from scrap fabric, use over­ripe vegetables to stamp a farm market tote, or put together a simple by stylish DIY holiday cardholder using painted pinecones and twigs from the backyard!

A DIY potted crocus gift wrapped in a paper bag with ribbon and twine.

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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