Bloom’n Bulbs for the Holidays

GardenNature’s Holiday Decor

by Charlie Thigpen  


Good news! We don’t have to wait several months for daffodils to bloom to enjoy the beauty of bulbs.  During winter’s cool weather, we can get our gardening fix by bringing amaryllis and paper white bulbs indoors to brighten our homes and make the season merrier.  Amaryllis plants have large, exotic-looking blooms that vary in shades of red, pink, and white depending on the selection. Paper whites produce clusters of small, white, fragrant blooms.

If you’ve never grown these two easy bulbs, you need to give it a try. I’ve grown them for years, and I’m still in awe when I watch them transform from brown papery-husked bulbs to long-stemmed flowers all in the warmth of my home.


Forcing in Soil

Amaryllis or paper whites can be grown in shallow planters. Fill the planters with potting soil, and push the bulbs into the soil, allowing the neck of the bulb to poke just above the soil. Place the planters in front of a sunny window where they will receive several hours of light. Water the planter, and then allow it to dry out between waterings until the bulbs begin to sprout.  Keep the soil moist but not wet. Bulbs should bloom within four to six weeks depending on room temperature and the amount of sunlight they receive. Once flowers begin to bloom, they can be taken away from the window and displayed away from the sunlight to last a little longer.


Just Add Water

It’s fun to plant these bulbs in glass containers so you can watch the bulbs grow. Just place three to four inches of gravel or glass beads in the bottom of the vessel, set the bulb on top of the gravel or beads, and add water. The water should barely touch the bottom of the bulb. Once roots appear, you can lower the water level so the bulb sets above the water but the roots dangle down and touch the water.

Amaryllis and paper whites also work well in specialty hourglass-shaped bulb vases. Bulb vases allow the bulb to set above the water, but their roots can reach down and get a drink. Around the holidays, the vases and bulbs are one of our most popular items. They’re great gifts and people young and old love watching the metamorphosis from bulb to bloom. So this year, don’t forget about amaryllis and paper whites. These winter flowers will brighten your home and make the season more festive.

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