Saving Paper Whites and Amaryllis for next year

Amaryllis at my house a few years ago.

We have spent the last few weeks enjoying our paperwhites and amaryllis bulbs in full bloom, but now the blooms have expired and the paperwhites have become too leggy. Instead of throwing away the bulbs, we are going to store the bulbs to use again next year. To reuse your bulbs again next year, follow the steps below and enjoy the blooms for an additional year.

The process of forcing bulbs during the winter puts stress on the bulb since you are making it flower prior to when it would do it naturally. After the bulb blooms you need nourish the bulb to help it bloom for another 2-3 years, so it is a process.  Zones 8-11 you could plant your bulbs outside after the holidays, but here in zone 5 it is a little bit of work.

(1) Cut the brown flowers down to the base, leaving the foliage. Keep the soil moist and the bulbs in a sunny place.

(2) The foliage will eventually brown/yellow. Cut off the foliage and allow the soil to dry out completely.

(3) Once dry, store the bulb (in same container or remove from soil) in a dry, dark and cool place (40-45 degrees F). Keep here until about 6 weeks before you want the bulbs to bloom.

(4) Plant the bulb in the same methods you would a new bulb, in a sunny warm place and keep well watered. I have had better luck with amaryllis than paperwhites with this process, but if you follow the steps (cool, dry, dark) you will have repeat blooms.

Paperwhites in a Camp di Flori artichoke planter with moss. To stop them from getting this tall, add a bit of vodka in the water.
Image from here

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