What to do with your Paperwhites after they bloom?

I grew paper whites for the first time last year for Christmas.  But I planted them way too soon and they were already done blooming before Christmas.

Christmas Paperwhites But I still have them sitting out on my counter. Just all lengthy green leaves with dead flowers.

It’s not pretty. I’m not showing you a picture.

So I set out to find… so what do I do with the bulbs? Ideally I’d like them to grow again next Winter.

It took a while to find some information.  Most places recommend just tossing them and buying new ones.  But I have some beautiful healthy bulbs so I want to try to save them for next year.

Well, first, you don’t cut the leaves.  You need to let the leaves die back naturally on their own. While the flowers are done blooming, the leaves provide nutrients to the bulb for next year.  I continue to water the bulbs every 2-3 days.

If you live in Zone 8 or higher, you can put the bulbs outside. Otherwise just keep them in the window.

After the last frost, you can transplant them into the garden outside. But apparently they may not bloom again for several years. (!!)

Christmas Paperwhites

But then I found this:

“Unlike many bulbs, paperwhites need no chilling to force blooms and are only hardy in USDA zone 10. This means that in California you can plant the bulb outdoors and you may get a bloom the next year if you fed it and let its foliage persist. More likely, however, you will not get a bloom for two or three years. In other regions, you will probably not have any success with a rebloom and the bulbs should be composted. It is quite common to grow paperwhites in a glass container with marbles or gravel at the bottom. The bulb is suspended on this medium and water provides the remainder of the growing situation. However, when bulbs are grown this way, they cannot gather and store any additional nutrients from their roots. This makes them energy deficient and there is no way you can get another bloom. In a nutshell, getting paperwhites to rebloom is not probable. The cost of the bulbs is minimal, so the best idea for flowering is to purchase another set of bulbs. Remember, paperwhite bulb reblooming in zone 10 may be possible, but even this ideal condition is not a sure-fire prospect. However, it never hurts to try and the worst that can happen is the bulb rots and provides organic material for your garden.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Can Paperwhite Flowers Rebloom: Tips On Getting Paperwhites To Rebloom https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/bulbs/paperwhites/paperwhites-reblooming.htm

So, to answer my question, I should just throw them away.

Christmas Paperwhites

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6 Comments

  1. PC
    January 7, 2018 / 7:31 am

    We live in S. FL and I threw my 1.00 mini poinsettias in the flowerbed last January. They took off and grew -survived Hurricane Irma too. when the days shortened, the leaves on top turned red. They are about 20 inches tall now and I am leaving them alone. I am planting my amaryllis this week in my bromeliad bed for next year. If you do not live in the warmer zone, you can plant in a bigger container in the house and put out in the spring. I kept holiday plants in the basement in MI and they came out again the next year.

    • January 8, 2018 / 11:40 am

      oh how interesting! I’ve never seen poinsettias in a garden! I ended up planting my paper whites outside. We’ll see how it goes!

  2. Marie
    January 7, 2018 / 10:25 am

    That faux bois planter is too cute! Can you tell me where I could get one?

  3. January 8, 2018 / 3:46 am

    My daughter got ‘some’ bulbs from her mother-in-law, planted them in her garden, a spot which would not get disturbed and they flourished for years. I think she did give some fertilizer at the start of Spring each year, she got that [sorry] sick of them, she dug them up and there were so many bulbs, they just accumulated to their hearts content! So depending where you live, you can have many years of enjoyment of these gorgeous flowers. If they become too many, you can always share with other gardeners. Please pray with us for rain, our Country is in the worst drought since 30 years. The temperatures are very high and our rivers and dams are just about empty, the farmers are really struggling they plant and grow food for the nation. Please, South Africa needs prayer like never before….. God bless you all.

    • January 8, 2018 / 11:41 am

      oh no! How terrible about the drought! It is literally pouring down rain here as I type this. CA was in a drought for years – until last year when it started flooding everywhere and a dam almost broke and a bunch of towns had to evacuate. I have planted my bulbs outside.

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