How to Dry Paperwhite Bulbs


Paperwhites are a hardy bulb frequently used in forced flower arrangements to produce indoor winter blooms. The paperwhite, or narcissus, resembles a daffodil with a smaller flower. These bulbs require no cooling period. Forcing these bulbs indoors provides a relatively quick flower that will brighten up the home. Paperwhites also provide beautiful blooms for the outdoor spring garden. Gardeners frequently dry bulbs such as paperwhites to preserve the bulbs for future planting. This process is fairly easy, even for the beginner gardener.

Step 1

Gather the paperwhite bulbs that have been removed from the garden. Soil will cover the exterior of the bulb and the plants will very likely have some green growth protruding from the top of the bulb.

Step 2

Gently shake as much dirt off the bulb as possible. Paperwhite bulbs spread readily so be careful not to jiggle loose newly forming bulbs on the edges of the bulb mass. Allow mud or damp soil to dry for a few days to avoid damaging the bulb.

Step 3

Using a dry rag, gently brush off the soil from the bulb surface. Be sure to remove soil tucked into the bulb indentations.

Step 4

Place a layer of newspaper in a sunny, dry location. Choose an area that remains dry throughout the day and isn't subjected to drafts or dampness. Lay the bulbs in rows across the paper, making sure the bulbs don't touch. The drying of the bulbs will allow you to store the paperwhites safely without the worry of the bulbs rotting through the winter.

Step 5

Dry the bulbs for at least a week. Be aware that humidity levels and dampness will keep the bulbs moist so allow plenty of time to adjust for outdoor humidity levels. The bulbs should feel flaky to the touch when completely dried.

Step 6

Clip off remaining foliage about 2 inches above the top of the bulb. Brush off additional dried soil from the bulb surfaces if necessary. Discard bulbs that have indentations and soft areas because these are indications of rotting.

Step 7

Store the loose bulbs in a box with shredded newspaper or loose, dry peat moss to protect the bulbs until the next planting season.

Tips and Warnings

  • Procedures for storing bulbs differ depending on the type of bulbs you are storing.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft rag
  • Newspapers
  • Peat moss
  • Box


  • University of Vermont Extension
  • Texas A&M University Extension
  • University of Minnesota

Who Can Help

  • Proper Storage for Different Bulb Types
Keywords: drying bulbs, bulb care, drying paperwhites

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.