Bringing a little touch of spring to your home with bright, fragrant flowers might be just what the doctor ordered this winter. But once you have them, you might as well encourage your indoor bulb blooms to last as long as you can. And lucky for you, the science behind making indoor bulb blooms last longer is actually pretty simple!
Forcing Bulbs To Bloom Indoors
Before we get into how to make them last longer, we’ll give you a bit of an overview on how to go about forcing bulbs to bloom indoors. Because really, what could be more satisfying than growing your own spring flowers in the middle of winter?
In simplistic terms, forcing bulbs is a way to fool Mother Nature by tricking spring-flowering bulbs into thinking it's their time to come into bloom.
Most spring-flowering bulbs have to go through a cooling period to trigger them to bloom, with early bloomers requiring anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks of cool (around 35˚) temperatures in order to bloom. Once they achieve that cold temperature for long enough, they can be brought out and “forced” into bloom in very short order, typically within 2 to 3 weeks.
Paperwhite bulbs, like Tazettas, require almost no cooling. They root best in an environment that’s about 50˚ to 60˚, and once rooted, are relatively easy to grow.
If you don’t feel like taking on the cooling process yourself, worry not—pre-cooled bulbs can be purchased from our online store starting in March 2021 and can be forced indoors quite easily. Just remember to pot them quite quickly after you get them, or they’ll lose the effect of their cooling.
How To Get Indoor Bulb Blooms To Last Longer
Once you have successfully ‘forced’ your bulbs to bloom, you’ll want them to stick around for a while! Here are a few tips on what to do once your bulbs have bloomed indoors.
Keep It Cool
Your blooms will last longer if they have the opportunity to spend much of their time in a cooler environment. Most homes are kept in the neighborhood of 70˚, but cooler temperatures will extend the life of your plant. So, while you can certainly enjoy its beauty and fragrance during the day, if you place your plant in a room that is around 50˚ to 60˚ at night, you’ll double the length of time they’ll last in bloom.
Don’t Give Them a Reason to Stretch for the Sun
Both types of spring-flowering bulbs tend to reach for the light when grown indoors because, in nature, they grow in full sun. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of the plant's energy and results in their stems becoming weak or “leggy” enough that they might topple over. Keeping a grow light that emits little to no heat (such as an LED or fluorescent grow lamp) about a foot above them will keep their stems short, and they will last longer in bloom.
Spring flowering bulbs will wilt if they don’t get adequate moisture, but you also don’t want to overwater them. Watering every few days, when the soil is dry to the touch, is ideal–you don’t want to keep your beautiful flowers in soggy, wet soil!
It is common for paperwhite bulbs and hippeastrum bulbs to be kept in hyacinth vases where the roots are kept in water, but, despite what you may have heard, it’s not an ideal way to grow them. Soil is the best medium for growing healthy, beautiful bulbs indoors.
A Tip For Frugal Gardeners
Reuse, recycle, repurpose! In our business, we like those words. You can recycle these bulbs if you keep them growing under the right light until you can plant them outdoors in the spring after the risk of hard frost has passed.
Following these simple steps should keep your home fresh, fragrant, and bright with beautiful flowers until springtime!
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