Lazy Gardener's Guide to Growing Bulbs Indoors
In this post, I'll show you how to grow bulbs indoors by tricking them into thinking that winter has passed. Sometimes I get super lazy about taking care of my plants. I like the idea of having something pretty and flowery around, but then the weight of responsibility sets in, and I wonder if I really want to be tied to this thing for the rest of its lifespan. The great thing about bulbs is that you get all of the shiny newness and flowery goodness with none of the long term responsibility. Once the bulbs are spent, you can either plant them in your garden outside or toss them.
- Bulbs (I got mine at Home Depot)
- Potting soil
- Gardening gloves
Preparing Your Bulbs
Buy your bulbs in the fall, and put them in your fridge for approximately three months. I've done this with hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, and crocuses. If you look around online, you'll see some very specific suggestions for how long to keep them in the fridge and it will vary from bulb to bulb.
But like I said, I'm lazy about plants. I don't follow any specific time frame other than roughly three months. Sometimes I forget about them and they stay in longer; sometimes I accidentally take them out a week or two early. So far it has not made a difference--all of my bulbs have flowered.
Basically, you want to trick your bulbs into thinking that they've gone through winter, and once you take them out of the fridge, they think it's spring. And, if you think about it, Mother Nature is not incredibly precise about how long winter lasts, so I'm not sure why so many gardening books and websites insist that bulbs should be in your fridge for exactly X number of weeks or you'll ruin them.
I didn't even try forcing bulbs for a long time because I was worried I might forget to take them out at the exact right time, but it turns out bulbs are pretty forgiving.
Planting Your Bulbs
When you put bulbs in your fridge in the fall, they'll be ready to plant mid-winter, right when it's all dreary and cold outside.
Using potting soil, plant your bulbs fairly close to each other. Leave the top part sticking out of the soil. You can see that some of them are already growing a bit.
Certain bulbs, like hyacinths, may irritate your skin when you handle them, so you might want to wear gloves.
Sometimes a bulb or two will have some surface mold when I take them out of the fridge. I'm not sure exactly why this happens. I've tried storing my bulbs in paper bags, plastic bags, and no bags at all. It seems to happen no matter what. Sometimes the moldy bulbs flower, and sometimes they don't.
Once you've planted your bulbs, they should emerge and bloom within a few weeks. The flowers will last for a few weeks as well. Water them around twice a week or whenever they seem dry.
Hyacinths are my favorite bulb to grow indoors. They look great and smell wonderful! If you want them to flower at the same time, choose hyacinths that are all one color.
It can also be nice to have waves of different hyacinths blooming if you plant different colors together.
So there you go! Easy peasy. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.