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How to Plant Paperwhite Bulbs Outside After Blooming Inside

Paperwhite narcissus bulbs are a popular bulb to "force" bloom. This means they are planted in a container and kept indoors to bloom between December and March. These tall, beautiful, white flowers bloom easily when forced and are especially attractive as part of a holiday display. While you cannot "re-force" the same bulbs to bloom again indoors, you can try planting paperwhite bulbs outside after you force bloom them to see if they will bloom the following spring.

Wait until the flowers stop blooming. Once the blooms have begun to die back, take them outside.

Use a trowel to dig a shallow trench only about as deep as the bulbs. Carefully remove the bulbs from the pot, taking care not to rip or break any of the foliage.

Sprinkle the bottom of the trench with bulb food. Place the bulbs in a cluster very close together in the trench. They should be almost or even touching each other.

Fill in the soil so that just the tips of the paperwhite bulbs are peeking out from the dirt and the stems and foliage are lying on the ground. Water the soil thoroughly.

Leave the stems and foliage to die back naturally rather than clipping them. This will return some of the plant's nutrients to the bulb, which will increase the chances that it will bloom again the next spring.

Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. If the ground is too soggy, the bulbs will rot. Test the soil by sticking your finger into the dirt. When it is dry to about an inch down, water the bulbs again.


Paperwhite narcissus bulbs often do not bloom again after replanting for two years, and sometimes they never bloom again. Many experts recommend simply throwing out the bulbs after forcing them indoors.

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