Paperwhite Narcissus – Bloom Again?

Q: I received paperwhite narcissus bulbs for Christmas and they have finished blooming. My question is, if I plant them outdoors, when will they bloom again?

A: They will not bloom this spring, certainly, because they have been artificially forced to bloom already.

Whether they bloom next spring depends on the severity of the winter they are forced to endure next year.

Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) are not as cold-hardy as other narcissus. Most of the time, they die in the cold, wet winters of Atlanta but they survive south Georgia winters pretty easily most years.

If you want to try to keep them alive, plant them in a pot with soil if they aren’t in one already. Keep them in a sunny window, fertilize once with houseplant fertilizer at half-strength and wait until early May to plant outdoors.

They like a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Fertilize again with a full-strength application when you plant.

Most folks pitch out their forced bulbs after the holidays but if you succeed they will bloom in the spring a few years hence. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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