Skip to Content

Should You Deadhead Paperwhites? [& How To?]

Growing flowers in your home and garden can sometimes take a lot of extra effort. Suppose you have paperwhites in your landscape and aren't sure whether or not they should be deadheaded. Is it a good idea to remove the wilting flowers from your paperwhite? Will more bloom?

Luckily, we did plenty of research into these questions and have the answers below.

Although you don't have to deadhead paperwhites, doing this can promote further blooming. Generally, your paperwhite will produce a new flower after the first one wilts, so removing the dying bloom early might speed up this process.

Furthermore, you can deadhead paperwhite by pinching off each dying/dead bloom or cutting the stalks off at the base when the flowers start to wither.

As we start this post, we will cover all things growing paperwhites and discuss when and how to deadhead them. We're here for you if you're new to this gorgeous flowering species, see wilted blooms in your plant, or need extra help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Do You Need To Deadhead Paperwhites?

Close-up of white daffodil flowers, known as Paperwhite, Narcissus papyraceus in green grass field.

Although you don't technically "need" to deadhead a paperwhite, doing this can promote more blooming and a healthier plant. As your flower produces blooms, they'll eventually turn brown and fall off your central plant.

While your flowers change color and drop to the ground, you can swoop in and deadhead them. Many garden experts recommend doing this to keep your paperwhite producing further flowers and for aesthetics.

Even though deadheading isn't always crucial for this species, it will keep your flower looking healthier. Moreover, taking the dead or dying flower from your paperwhite may encourage it to produce another one.

Getting even more time to see your plant bloom is priceless for flower lovers. Again, this can vary, but at least you can clean up your paperwhite's dying flowers and potentially see another one grow.

The key is being gentle and only deadheading the flower(s) that are discolored and wilted.

What Is The Point Of Deadheading A Paperwhite?

One of the main purposes of deadheading paperwhites is to clear the dying flowers from your plant. After the blooms on a paperwhite age out, they'll turn brown and fall to the ground.

When you decide to deadhead, this essentially saves your plant energy it would continue to send to the sickly flower. Most people don't realize that plants continue to send nutrients and energy to flowers until they're 100% dead.

Therefore, deadheading a sickly-looking bloom will preserve that energy and send it to a live, blooming bud. Again, this is the circle of life, and there isn't deadheading in the wild, so it's not always needed.

Most times, indoor paperwhites can get the most deadheading since you're already looking at them throughout the day. Outside, your paperwhite may shed its dying flowers if the wind picks up or an animal brushes by.

Furthermore, many experts suggest you let the dead or dying flowers fall into the soil and keep them there. That's because they'll eventually decompose into the ground and improve its quality.

How Do You Deadhead Paperwhites?

Fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus plants in full bloom, preparing for a winter holiday celebration. - Should You Deadhead Paperwhites [& How To]?

Now that you know the benefits of deadheading paperwhites, how do you do this? Removing dead or dying flowers from your plant shouldn't take more than a pinch or using sharp garden shears.

First, we recommend removing any discolored leaves and flowers from your paperwhite while deadheading. If you notice a few browning flowers, grab your shears and cut them off your plant.

You don't usually need to cut down their entire stem, but just to the point where the flower blooms. That can promote future buds to form and bloom, so keep the rest of your plant intact.

If you decide to "pinch" off the dead flowers, all you have to do is use two fingers, place them at the base of the bloom, and apply pressure.

The flower should come right off without a problem. Since the bloom is dying or already dead, it will be much weaker than a regular, healthy one.

As we said before, be as careful as possible when deadheading your plant.

What's The Best Time To Deadhead A Paperwhite?

The best time to deadhead paperwhites is as they start to wilt and change color. Generally, the flowers on your plant will look a bit sad after the blooming cycle ends or towards that point.

As you notice this, feel free to cut or pinch them off and discard the flowers or keep them in the soil. Some people prefer to let this happen naturally, while others prefer to keep their paperwhite plant aesthetically pleasing.

Especially for houseplants, you don't want to look at brown flowers or ones on their last leg, so deadheading can be especially impactful then.

In contrast, nature may do the deadheading for you if your flower is out in the garden. Remember, wind and wildlife can brush past your plant, taking the weaker dead flowers along with them.

This species, in general, is pretty laid-back, so you don't have to give it much attention. Some flowers don't mind letting nature take its course, so if you don't feel like constantly monitoring your plant: don't.

What Happens If You Don't Deadhead A Paperwhite?

Blooming Paperwhite daffodils with back sunlight.

If you decide not to deadhead paperwhites, that's entirely fine. As we covered, deadheading isn't required maintenance for flowering species.

The main point of deadheading is to encourage your plant to bloom more frequently, so in that way, it can be beneficial. However, the natural process of flowering also includes the bloom wilting and falling to the ground.

So, if you choose to let nature do its thing, this won't negatively affect your paperwhite. Instead, that might benefit its soil once the bloom falls to the ground and decomposes.

Flowers usually stay beautiful for a week or two and then die off. So many gardeners and flower lovers wait all year for the spring/summer/fall bloom from their plants.

Paperwhites aren't very needy, so deadheading is more for you than for them. Think of this as a cosmetic form of upkeep rather than anything necessary for your plant's survival.

How Many Times Per Year Will A Paperwhite Bloom?

plants in chinese flower market, Narcissus tazetta, paperwhite, bunch-flowered narcissus, Bunch-flowered Daffodil, Chinese sacred lily, cream narcissus, joss flower, polyanthus narcissus

Typically, you can expect your paperwhite to bloom once a year. According to New Mexico State University, this flowering species tends to bloom once in the fall, followed by a quieter winter season.

On top of that, many paperwhites that are forced to bloom in marbles and water tend to die immediately after their last flower falls. Since this plant is decorative, some people treat it as an annual or for a one-night-only type of event.

Again, that's nothing new for gorgeous flowering plants, but it does surprise many. With all that said, there is always a possibility your paperwhite will produce a second round of flowers in the fall.

For example, if you trimmed one of the dead blooms on your plant and found a tiny bud forming, there's a chance it will bloom in the later fall or winter.

Since paperwhites like to do their own thing, it's not uncommon for this to occur. According to garden pros, planting paperwhites outdoors in USDA zone ten might give them enough energy to bloom the following fall/year.

Since this plant doesn't typically bloom more than every 2-3 years, speeding up the next round always helps. Paperwhite bulbs can take up to three years to produce another flower in cooler growing zones, so that's something to remember.

This species is tropical-leaning, meaning it prefers warm, moist conditions.

Where Is The Best Place To Grow Paperwhites?

Narcissus Paperwhite Ziva blooms in the garden in autumn

The best place to grow paperwhites is in a warm, humid climate. Since this species leans more tropical, paperwhites will appreciate a bit of moisture in the air and sun exposure.

According to American Meadows, you want to keep your paperwhites in pots in climates with average weather around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Of course, your plant can always come inside if the temperatures drop to 50 or below, which is we don't always recommend growing them in the ground.

However, if you're in USDA zone ten, that's when your plant can stay outside, in the soil year-round.

Interestingly enough, moving paperwhites to a cooler location (45-55 degrees) for 3-4 weeks can help keep them small, preventing them from becoming top-heavy the next time they bloom.

These flowering plants are known to become so floral they fall over in their pots, so that could be a good idea to try if the weather permits.

Furthermore, Miracle-Gro mentions how this species, in particular, is most commonly grown indoors. Since it only can survive outside in the warmest USDA zones, indoor growing may be your only option.

This species is also perfect for the holiday season and has become a Christmas staple.

To Wrap It All Up

Whether you have paperwhites in your garden or home, it's always good to know whether you should deadhead or not. We found that you can remove the flowers from paperwhites if they begin to die or change color, although this isn't necessary.

Since paperwhites are relatively low maintenance, you don't need to remove their blooms as they wilt. Feel free to pinch off the flowers or cut them using sharp garden shears if you prefer: just be careful.

It's also a good idea to keep your paperwhite inside unless you're in USDA zone ten, as they don't like weather far below 70 degrees. Good luck with your gardening, and don't forget to enjoy your flower!

While we have your attention, check out these helpful related garden articles below:

Should You Cut The Flowers Off Laurel? [When And How To Deadhead]

Should I Deadhead Marigolds [Which Marigolds Do Not Need Deadheading]?

When to Cut Back Mums After Blooming [And How to Do That]