How to Store Paper White Bulbs


Paperwhite narcissus is the tender relative of the hardy daffodil bulb. Paperwhites do not tolerate cold weather at all, but they grow well indoors and are often forced into bloom in mid- and late-winter. Bulbs are usually purchased in fall for forcing, but you may need to store the bulbs for four to six weeks prior to planting, depending on when you want them to bloom. The bulbs can also be stored after flowering for replanting the following year.

Step 1

Place newly-purchased paperwhite bulbs in brown paper bags. Fold the top of the bag over loosely, and store in a in a dark place at room temperature until you are ready to plant.

Step 2

Cut off the flower stem at the base of previously forced paperwhites after the blooms have wilted, using clean shears. Place the pot in a sunny windowsill until the foliage yellows and dies back naturally in late spring.

Step 3

Cut the foliage off 1 inch above where it emerges from the bulb once the foliage has died back. Lift the bulb from the soil and brush off the excess dirt.

Step 4

Place the bulbs into a brown paper sack, and fold the top over loosely. Set the paperwhite bulbs in dark, dry room until ready to replant.

Step 5

Alternately, leave paperwhite bulbs in the pot, but stop watering the soil. Store the entire pot in a dark, dry room until you are ready to force the bulbs again the following fall or winter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Paperwhites must remain in moist potting soil until the foliage dies off naturally. Bulbs planted in pebble and water-filled vases rarely survive to bloom again. Paperwhites do not survive temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and perform best when kept at temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper bag
  • Shears


  • Washington State Extension: Paperwhite Narcissus for the Holidays
  • University if Arizona: Flower Beds: Bulbs
Keywords: storing paperwhite bulbs, paperwhite narcissus care, forced spring bulbs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.