Flowering Holiday Bulbs
November 15, 2014 by
Bringing the garden inside, Celebrate the creativity of featured artists, DIY home and garden craft projects, Home decor, Things that inspire me in the garden
Flowering Holiday Bulbs ~ easy and inexpensive winter blooms!
Flowering holiday bulbs create an extra special touch to your holiday decor and make wonderful gifts. Paperwhites and Amaryllis are two of the most popular bulbs for indoor forcing. Often sold in kits, be careful to inspect the bulbs first. Select plump, firm bulbs when choosing them individually at a nursery or garden center. I often buy bulbs for winter forcing through ColorBlends.com.
Expect to pay about a dollar apiece for good-sized Paperwhites and 8 to 10 dollars (and up) for quality Amaryllis. Although pricier, Amaryllis planted in potting soil can be kept as houseplants and summered outside. Then, let them dry out in early fall and reuse the bulbs year after year! Paperwhites will not rebloom for 2 or 3 years and are generally composted after their bloom time.
Small daffodils, grape hyacinths (muscari), tulips, hyacinths and other bulbs can also be forced indoors. But, unless you buy pre-chilled bulbs, know that they must prechill for 8 to 10 weeks in a cool place that does not freeze (refrigerator or unheated garage). This fools these spring bulbs into thinking they have had a winter!
Paperwhites take approximately 5 to 6 weeks from planting until bloom. Plant a few every two weeks for continuous fragrant flowers all winter long. Store unused bulbs in a cool place until planting. They have a tendency to get tall and floppy. To avoid this, after the plant grows a few inches high, mix a solution of 1 part distilled alcohol (vodka, gin, tequila or rubbing alcohol) to 7 parts water. Giving your paperwhites this “cocktail” will stunt their growth and keep them more manageable.
Do not fertilize bulbs that are being forced. They can be “planted” in decorative containers with sand, shells, glass pieces, marbles, stones, and gravel, as well as potting soil. Water up to the base of the bulb and keep in a sunlit spot. Amaryllis require about 10 to 12 weeks of growth until blooming. Keep these times in mind if you want to have blooms for the holidays!
Have fun choosing containers and planting mediums, and don’t forget to dress up your pots! Holiday accents will keep the bulb planting attractive until it flowers. See examples in the pictures below to help you plan for your own flowering holiday bulbs.
Choose plump firm bulbs. Some might have a bit of green already appearing at the top.
Check before you buy, if possible! Or you might get something sickly like this sad specimen!
Bulb Forcing Materials ~ stones, pebbles, glass beads, containers, ribbon, bulbs and holiday accents.
Include a picture and care instructions with your bulb gift!
Tuck holiday baubles around the top of the bulb for interest while the bulb is growing.
Dollar Store and recycled glassware are inexpensive yet beautiful bulb planters.
Colorful bowls make great bulb containers and can have other uses after the holidays!
Give a basket of bulbs to an experienced gardener and let them plan their own creations!
Single bulbs make wonderful gifts tucked in colorful glass marbles and topped with holiday accents like these jingle bells.
Amy of A Healthy Life For Me has some good tips that apply to forcing a variety of bulbs! See examples by clicking here!
There’s more than one way to plant paperwhite narcissus bulbs! Just look at some of the wonderful variations these garden blogger friends of mine came up with!
Here are more Fairfield Home and Garden posts on forcing bulbs!