Bulbs are one of the most anticipated plants by gardeners, because they are the first signs of life, spring and the coming garden. Grown indoors, these bulbs make great houseplants that can be enjoyed indoors year after year or stored and planted in a garden bed the following year. With so many options, it is sometimes hard to know what bulbs to plant and how to plant them in order to increase the chance of their blooming and thriving in a pot.
The hardest part is getting your chosen bulbs to bloom. Once that has been achieved, all you have to do is keep the new houseplant watered and in a sunny spot to encourage it to flower.
Tips for Growing Bulbs as Houseplants
Best Bulbs for Houseplants
Just about any bulb can be forced to bud indoors, but not all of them will bud and then bloom successfully. Many bulbs will experienced stunted growth after initially budding and then there is no chance for them to bloom and store enough energy to keep the bulb alive for another growing season. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses are the best bulbs for growing indoors as houseplants. They are the easiest to force and they last longer than most bulbs do, providing the room they are placed in with their beautiful color and scent for weeks.
Growing bulbs as houseplants is as much about the bulbs used as the materials that the bulbs are planted in. A rich planting material must be used in order to provide the bulbs with an endless supply of nutrient rich soil from the beginning. Compost, bulb pot fiber and a porous layer of material should all be added to the potting soil in which you are going to plant the bulbs. The pot chosen for planting is just as important, avoid pots that are too small, making it difficult for roots to spread out.
Bulbs that are purchased need to be planted in the soil as soon after purchase as you are able to. Bulbs degrade with time the longer they are out of the soil. You want to make sure that any bulb you plant is at its healthiest, which will greatly improve its chance to grow and then bloom. Make sure that the soil covers the bulb all the way up to the very tip of the top of your bulb. Roots need to be lightly packed into soil that is mixed with your porous material at the bottom. Water well right from the beginning and then continue to lightly water as it begins to bud and then bloom. Keep your bulbs in full sun as soon as you begin watering.
Retiring Your Houseplants
Growing bulbs as houseplants is a great wintertime novelty, but bulbs should be retired after their first season to ensure each bulb’s life. Once the plant has withered, it will need to be removed from the dirt completely and allowed to air dry for one day. Place clean, dry bulb in a paper bag and store in a cool, dry place till fall when it can be planted in the garden.