Flowering bulbs can be forced to bloom indoors, creating a beautiful display of color and fragrance even on the coldest days of winter. Some bulbs require a period of cold treatment to bloom, which can be a little tricky. If you’re new to forcing bulbs, we recommend starting with Paperwhite Narcissus. Paperwhite bulbs do not require a cold treatment and are super easy to bloom in water.
Planting – A Simple Hydroponic Method
- Find a decorative bowl or dish that is 3 to 4 inches deep and holds water
- Fill the dish with about 2 to 3 inches of clean decorative rock, pebbles, pea gravel, perlite, or other very porous substrate leaving about 1 inch of head space at the top of the dish
- Add water until it is just slightly below the surface of the rock
- Set the bulbs on top of the rock with the basal plate (root end) facing down
- Use a little more gravel to cover the bottom quarter of the bulb
- Keep the water level just at the level of the basal plate (too much water will cause the bulb to rot)
- Bulbs typically do best if they are kept in a cooler location (50 to 60 degrees F) in low light for the first 2 to 3 weeks
- Once the bulbs are rooted and shoots appear, bring into direct sunlight and warmer temperatures
- When the flower buds begin to show their color, move the plants into indirect sunlight to prolong the flowers
- Plant new pots every two weeks starting in mid-October to have blooms from Thanksgiving into March.
- Keep bulbs out of reach of pets and children as these plants are toxic if ingested.
- Forced paperwhites will not likely rebloom, so it is best to toss out spent bulbs.