I love plants blooming indoors during the holiday season. Poinsettias, Christmas cacti, bulbs… They look so lovely and cheerful, especially when all the weather can offer is a hundred shades of grey. I particularly like planting bulbs such as paperwhites and amaryllises and watch them grow and bloom in a matter of weeks. Several years ago, I was so much into forcing bulbs to bloom indoors during the winter – a half of my fridge was stuffed for weeks with paper bags filled with tulip and daffodil bulbs. My main concern was that my husband forgets all my warnings and tries to eat one of them. Thankfully, he never did.
After holding the bulbs in the fridge for 6 to 8 weeks, I planted them in pots with potting mix and enjoyed the blooms in a few weeks. Then, about a couple of years I read that a flower bulb has everything it needs to bloom. Hm-m, that was very interesting. What was going to happen if I plant a bulb in gravel instead of soil or pit moss? I tried. It worked. Incidentally, it gave my bulb arrangement a sleek modern look, just perfect for my modern organic interior.
What is needed:
- A clear glass vase wide enough for your bulbs to fit shoulder-to-shoulder. I like tall vases because they provide additional support for stems and leaves when they have grown tall.
- A few handfuls of pretty, grape-sized pebbles. Small bags of those can be found in Ikea or home improvement stores’ garden departments. One usually suffices.
- Bulbs. The easiest thing is to buy one amaryllis bulb or a 6-pack of paperwhites and plant them right away. If you want to get fancy, you can buy early spring blooming daffodil or tulip bulbs in September-October timeframe. Again, a pack of 6 will work for a single vase. These cannot be planted right away because they need a few weeks of cold first. That is why they are planted in the fall for a spring bloom! Early blooming varieties will need a shorter chilling period of just 6 to 8 weeks. You can put the bulbs to chill in the veggie drawer of you fridge in a paper bag. BUT! When your bulbs are there, never put any fruit, especially apples or bananas in the same compartment. They will kill your future blooms.
How to plant and care:
- First, I always make sure the vase is squeaky clean. That is mostly for presentation purposes. Streaks and dirty spots have a tendency to show up on clear glass all of a sudden when lights are turned on and spoil the overall effect.
- Put washed pebbles in the vase as the base for the roots (about 3 inches deep)
- Set bulbs on the pebbles. They can be as close together as touching each other.
- Gently put more pebbles around the bulbs making sure the bulb tips are not covered.
- Slowly add cool water to the vase to the level when it just touches the bulbs’ bottoms.
- Put the vase in a spot where it will get some sun.
- Add water to the same level as needed.
In a few days, you will start noticing the roots showing among the pebbles and the tips sprouting green. You’ll be able to admire the entire process of growing and blooming unobscured by pot and soil, right in front of your eyes. It’s just enchanting! You should definitely try it!
Good luck, and thanks for checking out my blog!