How to Save Paperwhite Bulbs
Paperwhites are members of the Narcissus genus (Narcissus papyraceus). Easy to grow, they are abundantly available in gardening centers and even grocery stores during the fall and winter. A popular method of growing paperwhite is forcing them into bloom in the winter. With highly fragrant white flowers, paperwhites add a stunning touch of spring in the winter. Paperwhites grow from tender bulbs and should be grown indoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones below 8.
Continue to water the paperwhite, as you normally do, after the blooming period. This will help restore the bulb’s food supply that was depleted during blooming.
- Paperwhites are members of the Narcissus genus (Narcissus papyraceus).
- A popular method of growing paperwhite is forcing them into bloom in the winter.
Stop watering the paperwhite when the leaves begin to brown. This will force the bulbs to go dormant.
Cut the foliage back to within 1 inch of the soil when it dies.
Place the potted paperwhite bulbs in a dry, dark area until fall when they can be planted again. Discard any bulbs that feel soft.
Paperwhite Bulbs Come Back The Next Year?
Paperwhite narcissus are native to the Mediterranean and thrive in the warm conditions in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. Unlike other members of the narcissus genus, including daffodils and jonquils, paperwhites don't require a winter chilling period to bloom. They are most often used indoors where they are forced to bloom over the winter months. Look for healthy bulbs at nursery and garden centers. Bulbs should be firm and heavy for their size, with shiny brown skins. The leaves supply the energy the plant needs to produce flowers during the next season. Keep the soil evenly moist and place the potted plants in bright light. About four weeks before you want them to bloom, move them to a warmer location and keep them moist. Wait until the leaves are completely withered. Plant the bulbs 6 inches deep in soil that has been amended with 1 inch of compost and 2 tablespoons superphosphate. Come spring, the plant should bloom again.
- Stop watering the paperwhite when the leaves begin to brown.
- Place the potted paperwhite bulbs in a dry, dark area until fall when they can be planted again.
- Washington State University Extension: Paperwhite Narcissus For The Holidays
- North Carolina State University Extension: Home Forcing of Potted Paperwhite
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research & Extension: Paperwhite Narcissus
- New Mexico State University Extension: Paperwhite Narcissus
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.