Grow a gorgeous indoor wintertime bouquet by planting bulbs in water or potting soil. Start new bulbs every 10 days for a continuous supply of fresh-as-spring flowers.
Here's a great way to give someone fresh flowers for the holidays and beyond: Grow them yourself — indoors. Your kids will have fun picking out the containers and then making the special bouquet come to life.
These small bulbs will give you a fabulous display of fragrant flowers four to six weeks after you plant them. Forcing takes a lot of energy out of paperwhites, and they usually won't produce good blooms again. When the flowers have faded, just toss the foliage and bulbs into the compost pile.
- shallow container (no drainage hole)
- paperwhite bulbs
1. Fill a shallow container with pebbles or stones (Image 1).
2. Add the bulbs, packing them pretty tightly. It's OK if they touch each other (Image 2).
3. Add water to just below the base of the bulbs (Image 3).
4. Keep in a cool, dark place until the roots develop, then move the container to a window and wait for the flowers to appear (Image 4). Each bulb will produce several flowering stems.
5. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh.
These huge dramatic flowers, in reds, pinks, corals, white and combos (Images 1 and 2), make a statement during the holidays, and the same bulb can be encouraged to bloom for many Christmas seasons to come.
- amaryllis bulbs (one or more)
- pot with drainage hole, only 1 or 2 inches larger than the bulb or bulbs you want to grow
- light, rich potting soil
1. Add enough potting soil to nearly fill the container
2. Plant bulbs so the bottom half is in the soil and the top half is exposed (Image 3).
3. Water well, then allow the two inches of soil to dry before watering again. Place in a sunny location.
4. When the flower stalks appear, you'll need to water more frequently, but continue allowing the top two inches of soil to dry between waterings.
5. When flower buds appear, move out of direct sun.
6. When the flowers fade, cut the flower stalks and water regularly when plant gets dry.
Amaryllis is a tender bulb that needs a dormant period before flowering again. To get your amaryllis to rebloom next year, check out this easy amaryllis how-to.
Many other spring-blooming bulbs can be forced to flower in winter if they are first chilled for about four months. But if you want flowers sooner and you're willing to pay more, you can buy bulbs that have been pre-chilled. These bulbs must be planted as soon as they arrive.
- pre-chilled spring-blooming bulbs, such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinths
- container with drainage hole
1. Fill a pot with good-quality potting soil (Image 1).
2. Place the bulbs, pointed side up, in the soil (Image 2). You can plant them fairly close together, allowing about an inch of space between them — closer than you'd plant them out in the garden.
3. Cover the bulbs (Image 3) with potting soil (for hyacinths, half an inch of soil over the tip; for daffodils, an inch) and water well.
4. Place them in a bright spot, but keep them out of direct sunlight. In a few weeks they'll begin blooming.
Forcing takes a lot out of a bulb. After blooming, these bulbs can be planted outside (provided the ground isn't frozen). In a year or two, a few may begin blooming again, but there's no guarantee. You may opt instead to just add them to the compost pile.