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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4

    Paperwhite (narcissus) issues w/ height...

    My wife received some paperwhites as a Christmas gift, and decided to pot them in soil in a draining pot. They were placed in an east-facing exposure, and they sprouted and grew _very_ quickly. In fact, before flowering they'd reached over 24" tall, and quickly became too weak to stand on their own. I've discovered in my reading online that this is a common problem, and have some suggestions at what to do the next time around.

    My question now is what we should do with the already-sprouted bulbs? Do we cut them off while still green and try again, or do we need to let them die back first?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    Hi Hiryuu,

    You will need to decrease the watering a bit and let the leaves turn yellow before removing them. The leaves are what feed the bulbs for the next seasons blooms. Most folks just dispose of forced bulbs, but you can plant them in the garden and see if they sprout next year. They may never bloom again or could take a couple of years before you see any flowers.

    Newt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4
    The problem with planting them outdoors is that we're up in Wisconsin, far from the warmer zones that these seem to require for outside planting. Only one or two of the bulbs (out of around a half-dozen) actually bloomed, so how should I tend them for indoors? Can they be kept as a potted, non-blooming plant for a few seasons with the hope that I can get them to bloom again in-season (rather than forced)? Or should I just assume they're toast?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    There are new cultivars of paperwhites now that don't need a chill period to bloom. Do you know which cultivar you have? You could have one of the new cultivars and the received too much warmth and that's why they didn't fully bloom. Here's a couple of examples.
    http://brentandbeckysbulbs.com/sprin...w/?sku=41-0127
    http://brentandbeckysbulbs.com/sprin...w/?sku=41-0128

    Wisconsin has hardiness zones 3 to 5, so if you are in zone 5 you could plant them outdoors. You might even be able to find a protected spot that gets alot of snow for insulation if you are in zone 4. If you aren't sure of your hardiness zone you can use this zip code zone finder.
    http://www.gardenweb.com/zones/zip.cgi

    Most bulbs that are used for forcing are not considered good canditates for reuse and are disposed of, but I think it's always worth a try. I've had success with some and not with others. To store them and try again next year you could let the foilage yellow and decrease watering a bit as they do. Once the foilage yellows you can let the soil dry and then remove them from the soil and store them in a cool dry place. Repot next year and see what happens.

    Newt

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