The Magic of Spring Bulbs

    • Liquidambar and Japanese maple trees can’t be beat for fall color. Choose them now while you can see their bright colors.
    • Spray citrus and other tender plants with Cloud Cover to give them some protection from frosts.
    • Enjoy birds in your garden by hanging bird feeders around the yard. You’ll see many different kinds as they migrate through this fall.
    • Bright purple, ornamental kale makes a dramatic planting in flower beds over the winter.
    • Plant ground covers to cover slopes and large open areas. Water until the rains come, and they will fill in and cover the area next year.

Potted Bulbs for the Holidays

You can enjoy a bit of springtime in the middle of winter by forcing bulbs to bloom indoors. Blooming flowers in the middle of winter are always a welcome sight. They make lovely gifts for friends and relatives alike. If you would like to grow some flowering bulbs for the holidays, it’s time to get started with that project now.

Starting in October or November, there are only two types of bulbs that you can have blooming by Christmas: Amaryllis and Paperwhite narcissus. Other bulbs, like crocus and hyacinths can be started now but will not bloom until February.

Beautiful amaryllis hybrids come from Holland, and are available as named varieties in many separate colors. These hybrid strains have impressively large flowers, 8 to 9 inches across and 4 to 6 flowers to a stem, often with two stems growing from each bulb. The color range includes bright reds, salmon, soft pink, coral pink, white and red-and-white.

These large-flowered amaryllis are easily grown in 6-inch pots. Keep the potted bulbs in a cool light place at about 50° until the roots are well developed. When leaves start to appear, move them into a warmer room. Bulbs bloom in about six weeks from planting.

Narcissus are easy to grow in soil or in a bowl of rocks and water. Nestle the bulbs into the rocks and fill with water just up to the base of the bulbs. Treat like amaryllis, and they will bloom in 5 to 6 weeks, with lovely, fragrant flowers.

There are attractive pots for forcing crocus and hyacinths indoors. Crocus pots hold ten bulbs and hyacinth vases only one. Both of these need 12 to 14 weeks of cooling, during which time the roots are developing. You can place them in a refrigerator, or a place where temperatures stay below 45° and above freezing.

Tulips can be forced for mid-winter flowers starting this month. Use as many bulbs as can fit in the pot without touching. The more in the pot, the more dramatic the flower show. Plant the bulbs with the flat side near the edge of the pot, with just the bulb noses showing above the soil, and water them well.

Tulips need 12 to 14 weeks of cooling, during which time the roots are developing. You can place them in a refrigerator, or an unheated attic, or any place where temperatures stay below 45° and above freezing.

When the roots are well-developed, bring them into a bright room and they will bloom in 2 to 3 weeks. Although they won’t be blooming by December, you can start these bulbs now and they will be well on their way for holiday gifts. Or hold on to them and bring them into bloom by Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy the magic of spring bulbs in your home this winter.

One Response to “The Magic of Spring Bulbs”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.