Due to the very wet fall of 2021, many garden stores still have a big selection of bulbs available. We have been through a difficult season that has forced us to seek comfort, stability and tradition. So many British Columbians have suffered hardships and losses due to extreme weather events and COVID-19 related issues. For many of us the simple plant on the windowsill could do a world of wealth in lifting our spirits.
Find yourself some specially prepared heat treated bulbs such as Paperwhite narcissus which is a common choice for the holidays. These are great for your own home or even to be used as gifts for your family and friends that need a bit of cheer.
Caring for Your Bulbs
You can have them in soil in pots or for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation you can have them set on stones in a glass container creating a display out of their roots. For optimal performance you want to start them off cool. You will need to get them early enough so they can spend 10 days in outdoor temperatures running from 5 to 10 degrees C. This ensures root development. When the roots are established you will start seeing green leaves. When you keep the bulbs cool their flower stems will remain compact as they emerge. Then you can bring your plants inside to watch them bloom. The cooler you keep them, the more compact they will be which will mean they will be more attractive. When the flowers open, you will not only be enjoying their beautiful bloom but also their unique perfume.
Other Flower Options
Prepared Hyacinths are another option. They are more compact and have a more powerful fragrance. Keep them cool to ensure their beauty will last long.
Amaryllis flowers are a stunning visual option but they do not have a scent. Their striking color and the way their petals unfold always make a big statement. You can find these pre-started, in bud or ready to bloom in pots but you can still purchase bulbs and follow the instructions above. The bigger the bulbs, the larger the flower. Pot these bulbs so the top third is above ground. This will create a unique look that is full of character. Keep these beside a cool window so they can develop at a slow pace for the best results.
Get to Planting!
It is the perfect time to start potting your bulbs for enjoyment next year indoors. These flowers in bloom will be a stunning addition to your home or can be great for gifts to friends and family members. If you are choosing non-prepared bulbs you will have a wide variety to consider choosing from. Just remember that not all bulbs are suitable for early forcing. Some of the easiest and best options to choose are Hyacinths, Crocuses and Tete-a-tete daffodils.
Get smaller pots running 4 to 6 inches in size. Many potting soil is very lightweight so you can add some sand to the mix. Push the bulbs deep into the soil and cover with sand. This will prevent them from lifting out of the pot.
Europeans on Top Planting Bulbs
Europeans have a different approach. Instead of burying the bulbs, they place them on top of the soil. This way the bulbs themselves offer some beauty before they bloom. Using more decorative pots also helps to improve the overall aesthetic look and feel of the plant on display. These top planted bulbs can be covered with some sand to keep them stable.
These top planted bulbs will need 4 to 6 weeks to cool so their roots can develop. This time will also allow the flower stems to push out of the bulbs. Find a cool place that is above freezing to place these bulbs. This is a very crucial point for their development. You can place them outside in a southern or western spot and cover them with bark or sawdust so they don’t freeze while their roots are growing.
Once rooted some bulbs will show stem growth. At this point they are ready to go indoors to start blooming. Crocuses are known to emerge first then Hyacinths and then the Tete-a-tete daffodils. Some minor bulbs will also work well. These include Grape Hyacinth, Scilla Campanulata and Chionodoxa.
What bulbs will you be choosing this season to lift your spirits and the spirits of your loved ones? Just remember to keep them cool for the best blooms come January.