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How to Store Paper White Bulbs

By Roseann Losito-Raia

Paperwhites are small, trumpet shaped members of the Narcissus family. They are hardy to zone 5 if planted outdoors but are more commonly forced to bloom indoors as houseplants during the fall and winter months. When used in this manner, storing paperwhite bulbs for a second season of blooms becomes a hit or miss proposition. Far greater rates of success are achieved if forced bloom bulbs are stored for future use in outdoor gardens instead of as houseplants. It may take several years for the bulbs to recharge and grow so an outdoor landscape is a more forgiving environment than an empty indoor pot.

Storing Paperwhite Bulbs

After indoor forced bloom paperwhites stop blooming in the fall, cut the flower and stem off but leave the foliage alone.

Reduce watering of the plant so that foliage yellows and dies back and soil or gravel dries out.

When soil or gravel is dry, remove bulbs and replant them outside for outdoor use or store them in a cool, dry place for use next fall as indoor forced blooms.

If storing bulbs for forced blooms next fall, you can also opt to re-pot bulbs in fresh potting soil with some diluted fertilizer instead of storing them in a cool, dry place.


Things You Will Need

  • Paperwhite narcissus plant
  • Hand shovel
  • Potting soil
  • Diluted fertilizer


  • Forced bloom paperwhites are easy to grow indoors. All it takes is a shallow bowl with some water, gravel and the bulbs to create a spectacular houseplant.
  • Storing paperwhite bulbs for use in future indoor forced bloom plants is often unsuccessful as it can take up to three years for bulbs to recharge and bloom again.


  • Narcissus bulbs (only the bulbs) are poisonous. Keep away from pets and children.

About the Author


Roseann Losito-Raia has over 15 years of experience as a published freelance writer for "The Inside Connection," "The Music Paper" and "The Musician's Exchange." Since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Long Island University, she has worked as a marketing and advertising manager in the music and DVD industry.