How to Replant Paperwhite Bulbs


Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) grow outside year round in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11 without winter mulch. Paperwhite flowers bloom in early winter from December through January. They grow 12 to 18 inches tall and produce a sweet fragrance. Paperwhite bulbs are injured when temperatures fall below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Paperwhite bulbs are propagated through bulb offsets. These bulbs are commonly used in flowerbeds, rock gardens, cut flower gardens, woodland gardens and containers. The best time to replant is in October and November.

Step 1

Clear the planting area of grass, weeds and debris. This removes the competition for soil nutrients and moisture. Choose a site with full sun exposure for strong plant growth.

Step 2

Loosen the soil to the depth of 12 inches with a shovel. Break any soil clumps up with the edge of a garden hoe. Work the soil until it is the size of small pebbles.

Step 3

Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of peat moss, compost or ground bark over the soil. Mix this into the loose soil. Rake the soil smooth and level. Remove the top 6 inches of soil in the cleared area.

Step 4

Dig up the paperwhite bulbs by lifting them out of the ground with a garden fork. Separate the bulbs and discard any soft or diseased bulbs. Shake the loose soil off the bulbs.

Step 5

Place the paperwhite bulbs in the planting area by spacing them 1 to 3 inches apart. Use 10 to 15 paperwhite bulbs per square foot. Keep the pointed end of the bulbs upward. Cover the bulb bed with soil and water the area well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Grow forced paperwhites as a houseplant after the flowers have died back. Water and fertilize the paperwhites while the leaves remain green. Once the bulbs go dormant, store them in a dark place. Transplant the paperwhite bulbs to an outside growing area in the fall. It will take a couple of years for the paperwhites to gather enough strength to bloom again.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Garden hoe
  • Peat moss
  • Rake
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Garden fork
  • Water


  • Easy to Grow Bulbs: Paperwhite Growing Information
  • North Carolina State University: Narcissus (Paperwhites)
  • Washington State University: Paperwhite Narcissus for the Holidays
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Saving Forced Bulbs After Bloom
Keywords: Narcissus tazetta, replanting paperwhite bulbs, transplanting paperwhite bulbs

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.