the paperwhites I am growing indoors in soil and gravel are begining to fade. what do I do to save the bulbs? thanks!
Nothing. If grown (forced) in gravel and water, the bulbs have been depleted and will not rebloom unless able to replenish their store of energy. This typically takes at least a season, sometimes more, in the garden under typical bulb growing conditions. As paperwhites and other tazetta and tazetta-type hybrid narcissus are hardy in only very mild climates (typically zone 8 and above), your chances of achieving rebloom even in a normal garden setting are unlikely. But you could try. They will not rebloom under forcing conditions again, however.
I bought beautiful gigantic Ziva paperwhites this yr and whent they were done, tossed them dirt and all into the garden a good month ago. Today I went out and touched them - not even mushy - just as firm as ever and the leaves are still green. We've had temps down to maybe mid-teens at night. Go figure
well I grew them in a soil gravel mixture. what do I do if I want to try to get them to rebloom. I am in zone 7 so like you said the garden is out. alyrics that is werid about yours! sould I cut back everything? just the stems? put them in plain soild in the dark? I am in the dark here.
Think very carefully about the needs of bulbs: next year's bloom hinges on this year's care of the leaves which make the food necessary for another blossom.
They are depleted by the energy that it takes to bloom. To renew this energy, it is necessary that the leaves stay green and healthy and receive enough sunshine, food and water to renew for another bloom. If you can provide that, you could possibly see another bloom in a year or two.
NO to cutting back, until the leaves naturally yellow and die, which should take six weeks or more as in nature. If the soil and gravel mixture they're growing in is heavier on soil rather than gravel, they MIGHT be okay with feedings of plant food. (Some kinds of narcissus grow naturally in scree.) When the leaves die back, you can let the bulbs go dry, cut off the dead leaves and store the bulbs. Next fall, repot in better soil and hope for the best. It may take years for them to recover, so if you don't get blooms, repeat the whole process.
Another facet of bullbs is that they tend to divide, so instead of one fat bulb you started with, you may have two or more little bulbs that have to grow for a year or two or three to produce another blossom.
North Carolina State University has the best information I've seen for growing bulbs. Do not confuse growing paperwhites with the information on growing regular daffodils requiring chill.
Maybe this will give yo a bit of hope. I too have the paperwhites. I also have hyacinth bulbs. The paperwhites I bought in a bag. The hyacinths had already been forced and was in bloom when I bought them (and I bought them at Wal-Mart). I just kept watering them as I would a normal houseplant. When the foliage died back, I would water sparingly. A soon as colder weather hit this fall, I sat them, still in the same post and dirt, out by my front door. ABout 4 weeks later, I brought them inside as I could see them peeking thru the dirt. They bloomed beautifully, and filled the air with such a wonderful scent. I plant to do the same thing again this year, year #3. What do you have to lose? Go for it. :-)
I've rebloomed paperwhites a couple of times in Zone 6 without a pause in flowering from year to year. I kept mine growing for as long as I could - I forced them in January, and kept them green and growing through August. They naturally died back in August (I guess it got too hot for them finally), and they started to sprout naturally in November. They rebloomed in the same pot and soil that January, and they performed the same way the following two years. I repotted them every year after that into fresh sil, and fed them moderately, and they seemed just fine. I dod not really precool them much - I just left them outside in a protected spot until early December here in NJ - they never froze, just got into the 40's.
Joe 'Nature is a wonderful thing' DeRosa
Thanks I am going to try it. It cant hurt.