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How to Store Paper White Bulbs

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.

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