planting bulbs indoors – all winter long…

Do you miss the scents and sights of flowers outdoors? I do. I live in Maine and winter is quickly approaching, thus flowers are but a distant memory…so what is a flower lover to do? Plant flowers indoors. It’s easier than you think, low maintenance and inexpensive. I personally love Paperwhite Narcissus and Amaryllis.

While Amaryllis are more common to find, boxed with ‘everything you need’ – paperwhites (above) are just as simple, with less waste (no packaging and no plastic pot). You only need four things – of which, two may be used year after year – bulbs, rocks, vase and water – that’s it.  Simple beauty, love it!

Now to start. Gather what you’ll need;

The bulbs (about .80 each), a small vase (think individual bud vase), small stones/rocks (5 lb. bag white rocks $2.99) and water. The stones can be rinsed and re-used for years – I’ve been rinsing and re-using mine for about four years. The water and the bulb will need to be discarded or composted once the flowers have past.

It’s done in 4 easy steps. Pour rocks, place bulb, pour a few more rocks, pour water. It’s that simple, really.

Here you go;

If using new stones, rinse stones first. Place about 1-2″ of stones in vase – amount is dependent upon height of vase. This flower tends to flop over, so the taller and narrower the vase, the better (you can always stake and tie the stem if using a more stout vase).

Place bulb, root side down on top of rocks.

Pour a small amount of stones over the top and sides of bulb, not completely covering bulb, but enough to help weigh it down (again, it’s a top heavy plant, so once roots start shooting downwards and the stem upwards, the stones will aid its’ ability to stand upright). If the vase is quite tall and slender, less rocks are needed on top, if any. (I always like to use a small amount of stones on top, simply to help keep the bulb in place, regardless of vase style).

Then add enough water to cover/reach the root base.

It’s that simple. Be sure to place in area where it will receive indirect sunlight and can enjoy cooler temperatures (60-65 F ) and that’s it – really. Maintain water level and only add when it falls beneath the root line (careful not to overfill as rot may set in), check it about once a week…then watch it grow.

The best part of forcing bulbs indoors is that you can plant subsequent plantings and have fresh flowers all winter long – regardless of your hemisphere! Narcissus typically flower at around 4-6 weeks after planting (depending on conditions), so if you plant every 3 weeks your guaranteed to have sweet scents week after week – even throughout the doldrums of a dark, cold New England winter….The other practical side to plating paperwhites during the winter is that they like cooler temps and indirect sunlight – which is great news for those of us in New England as it is cold and sunshine is fleeting…love this idea below too.

Incredibly scented flowers atop slender bright green stems what’s not beautiful about that? These bulbs also look fabulous planted as a group of 2 or more, in one larger container – just remember to space each bulb and place rocks between each.

Looking for an inexpensive, simple, yet lovely gift? Plant a bulb (or two or more) two weeks prior to gift giving and wrap vase with a bit of red ribbon, the recipient will enjoy loveliness for weeks to come…as will you.

Narcissus planted now, will become divine in December…enjoy.

21 thoughts on “planting bulbs indoors – all winter long…

    • ‘Dried flowers’ can be attractive too (: , but live ones are oh so much better…glad I’ve inspired you to get rid of those old roses. Narcissus bulbs can be poisonous to children (if eaten), so do not allow little ones to play with them (just to be safe). They smell divine too!

      • I love dried flowers… until they turn into dried mess on the floor that my dog tries to eat! I’ve been picking the petals as they started coming loose and pressing them in an enormous recipe book! Not sure what I’m going to do with them yet but they were the first flowers I ever received so I can’t bare to just toss them!

      • I did the same with my first flowers too – I still have them, actually, it was one red rose – and I pressed it in a book too…definitely don’t toss those away. They are irreplaceable…

      • I’m thinking that I’m going to get one of those wooden boxes from the craft store, paint it, and then decoupage some of the petals on. I’ll have to see how it works out. But I thought it would be a cute box to keep the letters that my boyfriend and I have sent since he’s been deployed. A nice keepsake to look back at down the line 🙂

  1. Jen, you are my hero…..I’ve been reading all that you’ve written in the past few months….and I am blown away by your creativity, talent, strength and wisdom…..you are such a rare gift, and I love you! Can’t wait to see you soon.

  2. that is a great idea!! I have bulb plants growing outside in my garden and I live in south India so winters doesn’t affect my plants much. But i would still like to grow them inside coz they look so beautiful in those glass containers 😀

    • Thank you! The great thing about this is you really don’t need a green thumb, just keep the water level up to the base of the roots and that’s it (and indirect light). Hoping this project puts your ‘green’ thumb in a better light…good luck and do give it a try. (: Let me know how it turns out. all the best.

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