Plant Bulbs Now To Get Some Flowers For Christmas

Paper White Daffodils Indoors

Hyacinths, amaryllis, 'Paper white' daffodils and freesias can be planting now in indoors containers and should flower by Christmas to give you a lovely display for the festive season. Exactly when you should plant your blooms will depend on which cultivars you would like to grow. Some will take longer than others, so to time them all to bloom over Christmas and New Year will take some careful planning on your part. Some should be planted in late August or early September, while others will not have to be planted until October.

HyacinthYou should note that if you want to get hyacinths to flower in the Christmas period then you should buy bulbs that are labelled 'prepared'. It is also worth mentioning that it could be a good idea to wear gloves when handling the bulbs as these can sometimes cause skin irritation in some people.

Simply take a large bowl or bot and place a layer of wet compost or other planting medium in the base. Pop in your bulbs, making sure that these are not touching each other or the sides of the container. Next, fill in the space around the bulbs carefully with compost or your chosen planting medium. It is best to leave around a centimetre between the level of the compost and the rim of the container as this will make things easier when watering. The top of the bulbs should just be showing above the surface.

The 'forcing' method is the same for most bulbs that can be planted for flowering at Christmas, though timings will be different for different bulbs. The planted bulbs should be taken and placed in a dark corner of a shed or garage in a black polythene bag, or in a cool, fully shaded location outside, against a north facing fence or wall, for example, and covered with a bark mulch. This dark and cool period is essential for the formation of a strong root system. Containers stored indoors should be checked and watered if the medium is drying out too much.

HyacinthsThe bulbs need to be at a certain stage of development before they can be brought indoors and brought to flowering. As a general rule of thumb, when the roots have developed and the shoots are around 4-5cm long, the containers can be brought indoors. Initially, you should leave the containers in a cool room away from bright light to allow the leaves to green. Once they have done so you can move them to a sunny windowsill in warmer surroundings. Do not put them in a draught or too close to a strong source of artificial heat, such as a radiator. A humid environment is best and you should remember to keep making sure that you are watering enough and do not let the plants dry out.

Get the light, heat and water requirements correct and you could be enjoying floral arrangements in your home over the cold and bleak mid-winter.