This year I am not able to plant annuals to welcome spring in the garden, because I am so much behind with chores like pruning the roses, cleaning up the garden, mulching and fertilizing all the plants that are needing it. But of course I am longing for some fresh spring green, color, and blooms. So I thought to myself I will give forcing bulbs indoors a try. I have some mixed results.
(you can click on the photos to enlarge)
I tried to force three Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta) bulbs in Hyacinth forcing glasses. Only two out of the three started to thrive and one very belated. But when the two of them were finally flowering they have been very pretty and the fragrance... Oh my gosh, it is almost too strong. We have an open floor plan in the first story, so the scent got diffused because the rooms are relatively big, but in a small closed bed room it would have been certainly too much.
I also tried to force blue and white Hyacinths. Like the label said that came with them, I chilled them in the fridge for about four or five weeks. Then I put the white ones in forcing glasses and they never got really started. Although I have to say that l even like the way the plain white Hyacinth bulbs look in the glasses!
The blue Hyacinth bulbs I planted with regular organic potting soil in a ceramic container and they came out nicely. Their fragrance is incredible strong and very pleasant to me. Since the blue Hyacinths are thriving in a pot, I think, I will take the white ones out of the forcing glasses and plant them in a container, too. I am curious if they will start to grow then.
Last but not least I got an Amaryllis bulb for my birthday from a dear friend. It came as a kit with a ceramic planter without a drainage hole and coco fiber growing medium. Even though I have my doubts if you can provide the bulb with the right amount of humidity in the pot without drowning it and letting it dry out too much I planted it as instructed and will see what happens.
So far the bulb has actively started to grow and it looks like it will produce two flower stalks. It is not very clear to see on the photo, but the leaves are coming out in the middle of the bulb and to the right and left the flower stalks emerge.
My conclusion so far is that it was/is fun to force bulbs indoors in winter and I would do it certainly again next year, but I think I have to read up a little bit more about how to do this to have a higher success rate. I just placed all the bulbs in the living and dining room areas, where you can see them on the photos. I believe that if you work more with temperature control and provide them with light conditions that are closer to their liking the bulbs might be easier to start. Also for me it looks that Paperwhites and Hyacinths are more likely to come up when they are planted in soil, in comparison to when you use a forcing glass. But of course these conclusions are only based on the observations of very few bulbs so they can not be generalized.
I really enjoy the little splashes of fresh green from the emerging bulbs in the middle of a white, cream and neutral color scheme in our dining room area.
See you in the garden!