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What do I do with paperwhites after they bloom?



 
 
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  #1  
Old 18-01-2004, 07:33 PM
Marissa
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Default What do I do with paperwhites after they bloom?

My paperwhites have bloomed I want to plant them, but not sure if it
is safe to yet. If not, how do I store them and do I cut off the
green leaves?
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  #3  
Old 18-01-2004, 08:13 PM
paghat
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Default What do I do with paperwhites after they bloom?

In article ,
(Marissa) wrote:

My paperwhites have bloomed I want to plant them, but not sure if it
is safe to yet. If not, how do I store them and do I cut off the
green leaves?


Storing "spent" paperwhite bulbs is far riskier than just planting them
out. Do NOT cut the leaves or you'll destroy any chance of the bulbs
recharging.

If you happened to have forced these bulbs in shallow pans of soil, then
there's a good chance of their recovery in the garden, but many people
don't force them in soil, so the bulbs wear themselves out blooming, &
sometimes never perform well a second time. If they do recover outdoors,
they could still skip a year flowering outdoors, or flower poorly for a
couple years before fully restored. If forced in soil they can be planted
out at the first sign of spring (that could be right now in zone 8 or
anywhere where there's not going to be a ground-freeze in January), or let
them go dormant in their pots & plant them out in autumn (in zone 8 --
plant them earlier in warmer zones where they bloom autumn & early
winter). At the time of planting, give them a high phosphorous fertilizer
just that once. Paperwhites unlike other narcissus don't require (but can
usually survive) a chill period, but they do require a summer dormancy.
Keep them a little moist when first planted, so that the leaves delay
their die-back as long as possible. If the ground dries out entirely
they'll go into summer dormancy before the leaves have recharged the
bulbs.

Forced paperwhites might or might not recover outdoors if they were forced
by the common without without any potting soil; bulbs forced out of soil
are much, much more depleted after blooming. But even then they have a
better chance than would forced tulips or crocuses, so long as the grass
is still healthy when you do get them in soil. Protect the grass at all
costs, since without leaves it cannot photosynthesize & the bulbs cannot
derive nutrients from the soil to rebuild energy. If you have places in
the garden where you don't care that they may not perform well for a
couple years if ever, but it would be nice to give them the chance, then
go for it; but if you've limited space & would be disappointed in a drift
of bulbs that performed badly, then discard the spent bulbs to plant fresh
ones when its bulb-planting time.

-paghat the ratgirl

--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
-from Peter Newell's "Wild Flowers"
See the Garden of Paghat the Ratgirl:
http://www.paghat.com/
 




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