You may have read the blog title and thought what are they talking about? Who can grow flowers in the dead of Winter? Well, have you ever heard of "forcing bulbs"? It's the process of forcing potted garden bulbs to bloom earlier than they normally world.
By following the few steps listed below you can have colorful fresh flowers blooming indoors, on your patio, or a porch area. It's fairly easy to do and we can almost guarantee great success. Just think, sweet smelling flowers in January!
Step 1 - Select the containers you are going to use. There are many choices of garden pottery you can choose. A shallow terracotta bowl is perfect since bulbs don't have deep roots. You can also use a standard flowerpot that does have depth. This type of pottery is perfect if you want to layer your bulbs.
You may ask yourself, why layer bulbs? This is the method of putting a layer of the tallest bulbs on the bottom of the pot because they will grow the tallest. Covering them with soil and creating a second layer. Put Daffodils next, cover with soil and create another layer for shortest crocus bulbs. If you stagger each layer, they will bloom at different times so you will have flowers blooming longer instead of all at once.
Back to containers - you can also use pretty much anything you choose except they must have the drain hole covered with broken pot shards or pot filler. This helps to keep the moisture inside.
Next have potting soil that is well draining & your bulbs. Plant the bulbs in the soil ending with soil on top so that all bulbs are protected from the cold. Now place the garden container in a cool, dark spot for 12 to 16 weeks. Make sure it's cool and never gets over 50 degrees. Under a staircase or on a spare closet are good places.
Step 2 - Once you see good root formation, it's time to place them in a cooler spot in direct sunlight. This lets the potted bulbs become accustomed to the warmth. Keep the soil moist. After they have good growth move to where you want to keep them. They should bloom in 3 to 4 weeks.
Enjoy the blooms through out Winters harsh months and let the fragrance fill your home.
Coax the sweet spring-flowering bulbs into winter bloom in pebble and water filled glass bowls.
Fragrant, snowy white flowers atop grass like foliage make paper whites (Narcissus)favorite indoor plants in winter.
Forcing the bulbs to bloom for the holidays - ahead of their normal spring cycle - couldn't be easier. Just nestle a few bulbs among pebbles in a water filled bowl and set them in a cool place with bright daylight until buds start to swell (typically in 3 to 4 weeks). Then display them on an entry table, coffee table or dining table in clusters.
Unlike some bulbs, paper whites don't require chilling, so you can force them as soon as you get them They will bloom for up to two weeks.
In order to get a bloom by Christmas you should start by late November.
Step 1 - Pour about 1" of pebbles into the bottom of the bowl. Set the bulbs on the pebbles, leaving about 1/4" between them.
Step 2 - Add more pebbles around the bulbs to cover at least the lower two-thirds of each bulb. (Paper white roots are vigorous and can push bulbs out of their containers, so it's important to nestle bulbs firmly among the stone.) Tops of bulbs should sit just above the rim of the bowl.
Step 3 - Fill the bowl with water just up to the base of the bulbs, then put it in a cool place (40 to 50 degrees at night) with bright daylight. Check daily and keep water level at base of bulbs as roots and foliage grow.
To minimize floppy foliage (classic paper whites grow 14 to 18 inches tall) display the blooming bulbs in a cool place (60 degrees is ideal) with bright indoor light. Another way to help keep foliage from flopping is to add alcohol to the water, using a formula developed by Cornell University researchers: After roots develop and stems have grown about 2" tall, replace the water in the bowl with a mix of 1 part 80 proof liquor (gin or vodka) to 7 parts water. Continue using the mix for the rest of the the growing season.