How to Grow Potted Bulbs Indoors

The look ahead to spring will be lengthy and arduous for gardeners. Throughout these chilly and gloomy winter months, I’ll do something for a style of spring to drum up pleasure for the season. That’s the place potted bulbs come in useful.

In the event you merely can’t look ahead to spring, why not develop your bulbs indoors over the autumn and winter? By means of a course of often called forcing, you’ll be able to benefit from the intricate flowers of hyacinths, daffodils, and a variety of others in your indoor backyard.

There are just a few important steps to make sure they flower on the proper time. Right here’s find out how to get it proper.


Close-up shot of a variety of Crocus and Daffodil bulbs on a wooden surface. Crocus bulbs are small, rounded bulbs with a papery outer layer. They have a teardrop shape and brown outer layer. Daffodil bulbs are larger and more elongated, resembling an oblong onion. They have a brownish outer skin with a somewhat tapered shape.
Choose the proper varieties for profitable indoor flowering, contemplating their chilling necessities.

Profitable flowering begins with selecting the proper bulbs to develop indoors. Fortunately, rising most varieties indoors (even the fussier ones) is feasible if you happen to can present the proper circumstances.

Some are extra generally grown indoors, together with:

  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Crocus
  • Amaryllis

The extent of upkeep required to induce flowering will rely upon the categories you select. Most have to be chilled earlier than flowering for a sure interval (lined within the forcing part beneath), whereas warm-region species like paperwhites and amaryllis don’t want pre-chilled. A part of selecting the best bulb is deciding how lengthy you need to look ahead to flowers and the way a lot work you’ll put in.

Whereas a show of only one indoor selection is gorgeous, I like combining just a few differing kinds in separate containers. In the event you chill them at barely totally different occasions, you’ll get pleasure from a constantly altering show that’s at all times in flower.

It doesn’t matter what flowers you select, it’s vital to make sure they’re wholesome and viable earlier than planting. You don’t need to undergo the planting course of and care solely to seek out they by no means sprout.

Indicators of a Wholesome Bulb

Close-up of several tulip bulbs in male hands against a blurry green background. Tulip bulbs are medium in size, with a teardrop shape. Encased in a brown, papery outer layer, these bulbs feature a firm and compact structure.
Choose wholesome bulbs for planting by selecting agency, disease-free, non-shriveled, and bigger choices for a strong begin.

Whether or not utilizing beforehand saved bulbs or buying new ones, there are just a few indicators of well being to look out for.

Wholesome bulbs shall be agency to the contact with out mushy or sunken spots.

Don’t plant if they’re discolored, mushy, or moldy.

Extreme shriveling is an indication of lack moisture. These will wrestle to develop after planting with out rehydration.

Bigger bulbs sometimes develop into stronger crops with higher flowers.

For the strongest begin, guarantee they’re wholesome and primed for planting. You possibly can nonetheless plant smaller or barely shriveled ones and hope for the perfect, however keep away from planting any with pests or illnesses to cease the difficulty from spreading.


Top view of bulbs with sprouts in four pots in a paper bag. Daffodil, Hyacinth and tulip bulbs. The bulbs are planted in pots with soil mixture.
Pressure indoor flowering by chilling primarily based on the everyday flowering time, utilizing strategies just like the fridge or cool rooms.

Relying in your chosen varieties, you might want to relax them earlier than planting to encourage them to flower. This course of is named forcing, as you might be forcing the crops to flower barely earlier than they naturally would outdoor.

The nippiness time is predicated on the everyday flowering time and area – in different phrases, what number of weeks of chilly they sometimes obtain of their native habitats earlier than they start to flower.

Flowers that bloom first in spring and are available from chilly climates, like crocus, often want round eight to 10 weeks of chilling time minimal to flower. People who bloom in the midst of spring, like some daffodils, will want round 12 weeks (typically longer), and late-spring bloomers, like tulips, want round 15 weeks of chilling time. After this chilling interval, they’ll flower inside about three weeks.

The best technique to chill is to pop them within the fridge in a mesh bag to advertise airflow. Don’t retailer them with ripening fruits, as ethylene can intrude with the rising course of. You may also depart them in your house’s basement or a cool room if temperatures are round 40F.

It’s additionally potential to chill bulbs inside their pots, both in a cool room or outdoor in case you have the area. Managing temperatures is a very powerful facet of the method if you would like them to flower at a sure time, so the storage technique is as much as you.


After this chilling interval, it’s time to plant of their new containers. The change in temperature to a hotter and brighter spot will inform them it’s time to supply new development and put together for flowering.


Close-up of a green-gloved hand planting a Hyacinth bulb in a large white container filled with soil and planted flowering plant bulbs. The Hyacinth bulb is compact and squat, resembling a small onion in shape. It features a smooth, papery outer layer of purple and brown shades.
Plant in deep containers with drainage holes or use bulb vases with water instead.

You possibly can plant in nearly any container indoors, so long as it’s deep sufficient to accommodate the basis system. Pots with drainage holes are really useful to permit any extra moisture to flee, stopping bulb rot.

However if you happen to don’t need to go the normal pot route, my favourite containers for indoor bulbs are specialised bulb vases. These vases have a big opening that narrows barely earlier than filling out once more, permitting you to position the bulb inside and above the water line. The roots will develop down into the water whereas the bulb stays largely dry.

The one downside with these containers is that they sometimes solely match one bulb at a time. You could must spend money on a pair at a time for a fuller show or keep on with planting a number of in bigger pots as a substitute.


Close-up of a woman pouring soil with a garden trowel into a white decorative pot for planting bulbs, on a wooden table, indoors. On the table there is also a small bag full of tulip bulbs and a bag of fresh soil.
Use high-quality potting soil with good drainage, making certain pointed facet faces upward.

Fill your container with high-quality potting soil to retain moisture. In case your container doesn’t have a lot (or any) drainage, plant in a lighter potting combine to stop rotting.

Every bulb can have barely totally different directions for planting, notably in relation to planting depth. Test the directions on the packaging for steps to get it proper. Relating to spacing, you’ll be able to usually plant in containers barely nearer than in beds outdoor.

An important factor to recollect when planting is to plant the pointed facet upwards. In the event you by chance plant them the wrong way up, you assure they gained’t develop efficiently.


After planting, managing the atmosphere is essential to an extended and profitable blooming interval.


Close-up of young Hyacinth bulbs starting to bloom in a blue pot on a light windowsill with sunlight. Five bulbs are planted in a pot. Hyacinth bulbs are small and teardrop-shaped, with a papery purple outer layer. They have narrow, strap-like green leaves. These leaves grow directly from the base of the bulb, forming a compact, upright clump. It sends up a central flower spike, adorned with tightly packed, fragrant florets of pinkish and yellow color.
Steadily acclimate them to gentle by beginning in a dim space earlier than shifting to brighter, oblique gentle.

Instantly after planting, preserving the pot in a barely dim space is finest to slowly acclimatize to the brand new circumstances, replicating seasonal adjustments of their native habitats. As soon as you see new inexperienced development (often inside a couple of week), you’ll be able to transfer the container right into a brighter space to advertise flowering.

Keep away from any harsh direct solar as this could trigger the flowers that do emerge to wilt faster. Cool areas with largely brilliant oblique gentle all through the day are finest if you would like your flowers to final lengthy. You may also transfer their containers to a cooler space at night time to protect the blooms.


Close-up of a woman in a yellow sweater and striped apron is watering a potted plant of daffodil and hyacinth bulbs using a yellow watering can, indoors. The plants are planted in a large greenish-blue pot with decorative fabric handles on the sides. Daffodil plants are characterized by their distinctive, strap-like leaves that emerge from the base in a neat, grass-like arrangement. Daffodil flowers, known for their trumpet-shaped corona surrounded by petal-like tepals, are white and yellow in color. Grape hyacinth plants have slender, spiky leaves that resemble grass blades. Rising from the foliage, the grape hyacinth's flower spikes bear numerous small, blue, bell-shaped flowers that closely resemble clusters of grapes.
Water commonly for improved root development, preserving the soil barely moist however not soggy to stop rot.

Common watering will promote higher root development, delivering even higher flowers afterward. The soil ought to stay barely moist however by no means soggy, as this could result in rot. In the event you’re rising in water alone, monitor the water line so the bulb’s base is at all times flippantly touching the water and the roots are lined.


Blooming spring bulbous flowers on the window. Forced flowering of crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths for in pots, on a light windowsill. Flower pots are tucked into decorative wicker planters in wood and white shades. The cup-shaped flowers of crocuses are purple. The vertical inflorescence of hyacinths consists of many small star-shaped blue flowers. Daffodils bloom with bright yellow flowers.
Bulbs retailer vitamins, decreasing the necessity for extra fertilizer.

Bulbs are storage vessels that include moisture and vitamins. Meaning they need to have all of the vitamins they should flower efficiently at planting time with out your further effort. You possibly can take fertilizing off your to-do record, merely having fun with the blooms inside three to 4 weeks.

After Flowering

Close-up of faded Daffodils plants with bulbs in a round bowl with soil and scissors, on a white wooden table. Daffodil bulbs are elongated, resembling small onions, with a brownish outer skin. They give slender, green leaves arranged in a grass-like fashion. The flowers are dry, withered, yellow-orange.
Take away crops from the container after flowering and compost them as a substitute of replanting.

As soon as they’ve completed flowering and begin to die again, take away them from their container.

Because the forcing course of is tough on the crops, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll flower once more the next season. There’s, subsequently, no must retailer them for replanting or put any effort into forcing them once more to flower.

The perfect place for them after flowering is your compost heap. Right here, they’ll proceed to be helpful, and also you gained’t have to create space in your indoor backyard for crops that gained’t flower. If you wish to develop indoors once more subsequent 12 months, purchase new and contemporary ones to extend your possibilities of success.

Closing Ideas

Impatient gardeners who need to brighten their indoor gardens over winter ought to attempt rising potted bulbs indoors. They’re great additions to any indoor backyard, particularly for many who don’t have the outside area to develop them.

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