Want spring blooms inside during the winter? This is the perfect time of year to start forcing bulbs such as amaryllis and paperwhites.
Amaryllis colors go from white to deep red and even stripes. Your amaryllis can bloom 7 weeks or longer. Paperwhite bulb forcing requires a cool temperature of around 50-60 degrees F for two weeks and can then be moved to a warmer, sunnier area. Paperwhites range in color from all white flowers to both light yellow and white.
You can force bulbs in water, using bulb forcing jars, ordinary vases, placing the bulb on wire mesh, or using tape placed at the water line. Fill the vase with water just at the level of the bottom of the bulb. After root formation, check every few days that the roots are always in water but that the water line stays below the bulb, or else rotting or molding will occur! At first, keep the vase in a dark, cool spot until roots and leaves start to form, and then move it to a bright location between 60-70 degrees F, while avoiding direct south-facing sunlight. A spot next to an east or west-facing window is great to keep the bulb plants cooler. For straight growth, rotate the vase a quarter turn each day. After blooming has finished, you can compost the plant or plant it in the garden with a little general fertilizer.
Bulbs can be forced on decorative stones, such as river rock, crushed brick, glass chips, marbles, or pea gravel. Settle the bulbs into the stones to avoid tipping. The bulbs will grow roots down into the stones and keep them steady. It's up to you to mix and match whatever varieties you choose!
Lastly, pre-chilled bulbs can also be forced into the potting mix. Unlike outdoor planting, you only need enough potting mix to just cover the bulb, and water sparingly to avoid rotting. After the bulbs have completed blooming, you can remove the flowers and allow the foliage to continue growing. You can then plant them outside, where they will come back the following year. Otherwise, you can stop watering, allow the foliage to dry out, and after shaking off the soil, store the bulbs in a cool dry spot to replant in the fall.
The Farm at Green Village has all the supplies to get your bulbs started just in time for the holidays - stop by today!