When it’s the dead of winter and not a flower can be found, why not grow some indoors to make it feel like Summer again. Forcing bulbs indoors gives your house that burst of color you need to make it through the long, cold, and grey Winter. Paperwhites (Narcissus) and Amaryllis flowers are super easy to grow indoors.
Most bulb-type flowers are easy to plant. All you need is a pot, some dirt, and the bulbs. You can put them in just about any pot and even crowd the bulbs in to fit or space them out and use a decorative pot. Make sure the container you use has drainage holes in the bottom. If you don’t have a pot with holes in the bottom you can also just fill a container with rocks or decorative stones with no dirt and fill your container with water.
Paperwhites are very easy to grow and they are super fragrant.
Paperwhites are pretty, versatile and lightly scented. So simple to grow and so lovely in every home. Narcissus (also known as paperwhites) produces big clusters of pure white, star-shaped flowers with an intense, musky fragrance. Popular for indoor forcing, they can be planted in water or in soil and bloom within 4 weeks.
Easy Paperwhite Growing Instructions:
Place dirt in a pot. Press bulbs into the dirt flat side down, making sure they stick out half way. There is really no need to cover them with dirt, just press them, root-side down into the pot. Water enough to moisten the dirt and place in a sunny window. Keep soil moist and watch them grow.
To help your flowers grow evenly, turn the pot around each day so they don’t tilt towards the sun. Or, remove them out of the direct sunlight.
Note: if you are going to grow your bulbs in a pot filled with rocks or decorative stones, fill the container so that the bottoms of the bulbs are just touching the water.
To keep flowers from fading so fast, move them to a cooler room at night.
To keep your Paperwhites from falling over once they bloom, feed them with a solution of alcohol and water when the shoots are approximately 2″ tall. This will help to stunt the growth of the stalks but will not harm the plant or the flowers. You can use gin, vodka, whiskey, tequila, rum or plain old rubbing alcohol. Mix 1 part hard liquor to 7 parts water. If you are using rubbing alcohol your measurements will be around 5% alcohol. Do not use beer or wine because it contains sugar. Reference Cornell University.
Start your bulbs in plain water. When roots have formed and the green shoot is 1 to 2 inches long, pour off the water and replace with a solution of 4 to 6 percent alcohol. If you are using 80 proof liquor (40 percent alcohol), that works out to one part gin (or the like) to 7 parts water.
Rubbing alcohol (either 70 or 100 percent isopropyl alcohol) can be substituted; just remember to dilute it more. Keep the beer and wine for yourself; their sugars damage plants.
This is what Paperwhites (Narcissus) look like growing after just one week
After the flowers bloom and die off, take the bulbs out, clean them off and store them in a cool, dry place such as in a basement. They should be kept dry until you are ready to grow them again.
Photo Credit: Longfield Gardens
How to Grow Amaryllis Flowers Indoors
Amaryllis grow in much the same way, in a pot with dirt or in a glass vase with water and rocks. The bulbs and flowers are larger. One of the most beloved winter blooms that outlast traditional poinsettias with their blooming power. Soft green petal tips open up to a rich, deep colors. A truly elegant flower you will love. Choose from a wide variety of colors!
Here is what Amaryllis.com has to say about growing Amaryllis flowers.
The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours. Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.
Photo Credit: Longfield Gardens
Photo Credit: White Flower Farm
Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks. In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring. To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.
- Planting Period: October until the end of April.
- Flowering Period: Late December until the end of June.
- Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
- Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
- Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 40-50 deg. F.
Do you have any tips for growing Paperwhites and Amaryllis flowers indoors during the winter?