Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > December 2014 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Care for Potted Bulbs Indoors

BONNIE'S GARDEN--How to Care for Potted Bulbs Indoors

This is the time of year to give and get blooming bulbs.  Amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, tulips, hyacinths all make beautiful blooming gifts that bring a little “spring” into our lives.   
If you get a gift of amaryllis or paperwhites, keep them in a bright location to keep the flower stems from reaching towards the light.  If placed in a cool place (at least at night) the flowers will last longer than if kept warm.  Water only when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch.  Paperwhites should be discarded after blooming as they are not winter-hardy here and cannot be forced again.  Amaryllis, with proper care, can be brought back into bloom year after year.  (See my 11-10-14 blog on growing and re-blooming these beautiful giants.)
To care for pots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, etc. keep them in a spot that is bright and airy.  Again, keeping them cool will keep the flowers fresher longer.  When they’ve finished blooming, cut off the spent flowers and continue to keep the pot of foliage watered and in a bright location until the leaves have yellowed and begun to die back.  At this point you can dry out the soil and remove the bulbs, storing them in paper bags until next fall to plant in your garden.  Tulips may not bloom again once forced but daffodils, hyacinths and crocus will usually take a year off to ‘recuperate’ then reward you with flowers after that.
When giving paperwhites and amaryllis as gifts, remember that half the enjoyment comes from watching them grow, so I pot the bulbs up myself a day or two before I plan to give them and let the recipient have the fun.  As a matter of fact, for most of my family and friends, I’ll give them a container, a bag of soil and an amaryllis bulb, or a bag of pebbles, and some paperwhites and let them pot them up themselves.
Tulips and regular narcissus (daffodils) do not force in water and need to go through “winter” before blooming.  This time of year, buy them already potted.  If you want to start your own pots, it’s not hard.  It just takes time.  Next fall, buy tulips, daffodils or crocus in September, put them in a paper bag in the refrigerator for seven or eight weeks, then pot them into a pot with soil, water them and place back in the fridge for another seven or eight weeks.  Bring out into a sunny window and about three weeks later, you’ll have beautiful blooms.
To enjoy hyacinths indoors be sure to look for “prepared” hyacinth bulbs.  Just like tulips and daffodils, hyacinths need to go through “winter” before they’ll bloom so prepared hyacinth bulbs have been pre-chilled for one half of their 12 to 14 week required winter and need only another six to seven weeks of chilling before they’ll bloom with that delicious fragrance inside.  I usually put mine in a “hyacinth glass” (a special glass for forcing bulbs) and tuck in the back corner of the fridge for a few weeks.  I then take them out and place in a sunny window and, within two or three weeks, am enjoying them inside.
Posted: 12/1/2014 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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