Posted on: January 28, 2016 | Written By: Doug Oster |
I’m not sure if there’s any better feeling than seeing the plump flower bud of an amaryllis push out of the top of a big bulb.
It means that the flowers are only a few weeks away.
Amaryllis bulbs and other bulbs for forcing like paperwhites and hyacinths have everything they need to flower stored inside. All three can be found at garden centers and nurseries.
In the case of the amaryllis bulb, it can be coaxed into flowering year after year.
After the plant is done blooming remove the flower stalk leaving the tall, floppy foliage. Grow it as a houseplant all winter and start fertilizing in March. Mid-May it goes outside in the shade. Sometimes transplanting to a pot one size bigger will help. Keep feeding the plant every couple weeks through the season.
In August stop all watering and fertilization and bring the amaryllis back inside. I put mine down in the basement for six to eight weeks until they go into dormancy. The leaves will turn brown, which feeds the bulb. Then bring the plant back to the windowsill add a little water and hope for buds to emerge.
Paperwhites are tender daffodils that are discarded after they bloom. Although I’ve had them re-sprout in a greenhouse without flowers. I love them for their fragrance, but not everyone agrees. To me they smell like spring, to others, not so much.
Take a pot, fill it with moist planting mix and the bulbs can be planted touching each other. In only a few weeks the white flowers will appear and fill the house with their “magical” aroma.
Since the bulbs have all the stored energy they need to flower, they don’t require any nutrients. The planting mix just gives the roots something to grab on to. The bulbs could be put into a tray of pebbles and water and would bloom fine.
Hyacinths might be the queen of indoor fragrance. There are special vases for forcing that hold the bulb just out of the water. The roots will find their way down to the liquid and then when the bulb blooms the house will be filled with the scent of spring.
It’s wonderful to have the windowsill filled with flowers. It’s a way to get through the winter.
I can’t wait to be out in the garden again, how about you?