It’s January—cold, icy, maybe snowy—flowers may be the last thing on your mind right now. But you can have the beauty of spring even in the middle of winter, with bulbs that you can force to grow indoors.
Forcing a bulb to grow really means tricking it into thinking that winter is over. It’s all in the planting, and how you store the planted bulbs.
Certain bulbs, including Amaryllis, hyacinths and paperwhite narcissus, look great after forcing.
Paperwhites offer a beautiful fragrance. Buy a couple dozen paperwhite bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place. Start some every few weeks for blooms right through February. Amaryllis are available in many interesting colors and forms: There are bright reds, as well as white, pink and peach. Other easy bulbs for indoor forcing are crocus, hyacinths, muscari, and mini-daffodils.
One way to plant these is to use soil. Use a standard potting mix (2/3 soilless mix, 1/3 compost/soil). Leave at least two inches below the bulbs for root growth. The very top of the bulbs can be even with the pot rim. You can place the bulbs close together, but use only one type of bulb per pot, because cooling and bloom times can vary. Water the bulbs thoroughly after planting.
You can also use a forcing vase with a narrow neck and water to force the bulbs. For most bulbs, you should only use one per jar. You can find a wide variety of forcing jars in stores and garden centers. They can be plain or decorative, whatever your preference.
You’ll want to start your bulbs out with indirect light and temperatures of about 50 degrees F. for the first two weeks, then switch them to warmer and brighter conditions. If you’re growing your bulbs in a bowl with pebbles or marbles, the water should cover no more than the bottom quarter to third of the bulb.
While you’re trying to bring spring flowers indoors for the winter, Call Hufnagel Landscape Design and Construction today at 201-869-5680 to get started on your spring designs. We are ready to help!