Creative Ways to Bring Spring-Flowering Bulbs Indoors
Do you have bulb-phobia – a fear of planting spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips? It takes a lot of courage to bury those little brown packages in the ground and trust that they will emerge and bloom next spring. But really, bulbs are some of the easiest plants to grow.
Leap past your reluctance to plant bulbs with one of these creative projects that bring the beauty of bulbs indoors.
Pot up a tulip bulb or two in small nursery pots that can be stored in a chilly area until the leaves emerge. Here you see four pots of 'Flair' tulips nestled in a terra cotta planter. Sheet moss covers the rims of the plastic pots.
In this arrangement, I filled a moss-lined basket with pots of 'Flair' tulips.
Using the same idea as in the previous slide, hyacinths are potted up in a small plastic container. Once the leaves begin to emerge the pots are slipped into a moss lined glass cube.
Three square planters of forced hyacinths make a pretty centerpiece for this coffee table. To add pattern I paired the hyacinths with small pots of strawberry begonias.
The easiest way to force hyacinths is with a forcing jar with water. That's right, water. They don't even need soil! The neck is narrow to hold the bulb above water. I like to add glass beads for drama, but they aren't necessary.
For this project plant six crocus bulbs in a 4-inch pot and store them somewhere cold for 8-10 weeks. Bring them indoors in early spring. Lift the bulbs, soil and all, out of the pots and fit them into the teacup. Water sparingly since there is no drainage.
Blue hyacinths, 'Tête-à-Tête' daffodils and red tulips make this basket colorful and fragrant. I lined a plastic trash bag and transplanted the bulbs from their forcing pots to the basket. This way I can really pack the blooms into the container
As an alternative to moss I like to use fast-growing grasses as a ground cover for my potted bulbs. With this arrangement I sowed wheat grass over the soil. The wheat grass had a good start by the time the hyacinths bloomed.
Bulb Forcing Basics
Spring-flowering bulbs need to spend a certain amount of time in the cold. For a quick turn around purchase bulbs that have been "pre-chilled." These bulbs have already gone through the necessary cooling period so they are ready to pot up and start growing.
If you can't find those, just plant the bulbs in pots and store them for 8 to 12 weeks in a cold frame, outdoor shed, garage, or other dark area with temperatures from 35 to 45°F. It's important that you don't expose bulbs to freezing temperatures. Once the bulbs have been pre-cooled, you can force them into bloom.
Once you see the leaves emerging from the soil move the pots to an intermediate area that has low light and slightly warmer temperatures. Over the next three to four days, gradually move your plants to a sunny window.
When the flowers appear, keep them in bright, indirect light. Temperatures of 60°F to 65°F will ensure longest flowering. Turn the pots a bit each day so that the flowers do not lean to one side as they reach for the sun.
Bulbs that have been planted in soil and brought indoors can be transplanted to the garden in spring. Paperwhites and hyacinths that are forced in water should be discarded.