How to Care for Paperwhites After Blooming


Paperwhites are a type of narcissus that is sold in the winter for indoor forcing. The bulbs require no chilling period and are among the easiest to bloom, even in water, without soil. Unfortunately, water-forced paperwhite bulbs use all of their energy producing the flowers and will not rebloom. If you grew your paperwhite bulbs in soil, and you live in a frost-free area within U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 11, your paperwhite bulbs may re-bloom in the garden in a few years.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Small shovel
  • Compost
  • Bulb starter fertilizer
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Allow the foliage to remain until it turns yellow. Cut it off when you are ready to plant the bulb.

  • Dig into the soil in the planting area, to a depth of 6 inches. Add 3 inches of compost and mix it to a depth of 6 inches.

  • Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the paperwhite bulb and 6 inches deep. Add bulb-starter fertilizer to the bottom of the hole, at the rate suggested on the label, and cover it with 2 inches of soil.

  • Drop the paperwhite bulb into the hole and cover it with soil.

  • Water the planting area until the top 8 inches of soil is moist.

  • Water the narcissus bulb monthly during late fall and winter with an all-purpose fertilizer, diluted to half the strength recommended on the package.

Tips & Warnings

  • It may take two to three years for the paperwhite bulb to re-bloom, so don't be discouraged. Continue to care for the bulb so that it can rebuild the nutrients it needs.

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  • Photo Credit Dynamic Graphics/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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