When you are ready for Spring but not entirely out of Winter yet, planting flower bulbs indoors can give you the Spring vibes and get your garden one step ahead of the rest when the warmer weather finally emerges.
Growing bulbs indoors is easier than you may believe, and who doesn’t love the bright, beautiful colors that Tulips and other bulb flowers produce.
Continue reading to learn how to plant flower bulbs indoors and gain the ability to enjoy a Spring bouquet even in the dark, gloomy, cold winter months.
Planting flower bulbs indoors and getting them to bloom requires a little planning ahead.
Choosing the type of bulb, you want to plant and grow indoors is the first step.
Tulips, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Amaryllis, Paperwhites, Hyacinths, and Crocus, are all great options to consider planting.
Some flower bulbs, such as large-flowered Daffodils, can be challenging to bloom indoors, but if you put in the time and effort, the reward of these beautiful flowers is well worth it.
Something not commonly realized is that some flower bulbs need a chilling period before planting and blooming.
Chilling flower bulbs are required for some plants because it breaks the usual cycle that allows plant growth. Many plants go dormant in the fall and winter months, so chilling the bulbs and then bringing them back helps promote growth before typical seasonal blooms in a natural environment.
Chilling periods keep embryos from emerging and killing the new growth you’re trying to recreate at a different period of time than mother nature’s normal cycle.
Blubs that need to be chilled:
14 to 20 weeks of chilling. 2 to 3 weeks to bloom.
11 to 14 weeks of chilling. 2 to 3 weeks to bloom.
Does best with 15 chilling weeks. 2 weeks to see blooms.
Recommended 15 to 17 weeks to chill. They need 2 to 3 weeks to bloom.
8 to 12 weeks of chilling. 2 weeks estimated to bloom.
Blubs that do not need to be chilled:
6 to 8 weeks after planting will bloom.
Blooms start appearing 3 to 5 weeks after planting.
Bulbs, like Tulips, are Spring bloomers. Spring bloomers require a chill period of 12 to 16 weeks. Ideally, you would chill your flower bulbs in the refrigerator since the highest chilling temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Store your bulbs in the refrigerator in a ventilated mesh bag, keeping away from fresh produce. Fresh fruit releases ethylene gas which reduces the likeliness of blooms.
A good rule of thumb is that flowers capable of blooming through the snow will require a lesser chilling period than those that need Spring weather to bloom. Research your bulb species to discover the exact chilling time it needs.
Potting your flower bulbs is the fun part after all your prep work and the long waiting period if your bulbs had to be chilled.
Steps to plant flower bulbs indoors are.
- Inspect the bulbs. Ideally, bulbs need to be unblemished, plump, and firm before potting. When using chilled bulbs, it may be hard to notice minor blemishes but use your best judgment. Throw away bruised, shriveled, and moldy bulbs because they will not produce blooms, and if they do, they will not flourish well.
- Pick a container. Bulbs can be planted in gravel or soil to grow. You can use individual pots or one large pot with multiple bulbs. Luckily, bulbs do not need much space to bloom. An option to consider is using eggshells as pots for bulbs. Eggshells are tiny, hold the bulb like a bowl, and when ready to move your bulbs outdoors during the Spring or Summer, you will not have to dig up and replant the shell. You can bury the entire eggshell in new soil outdoors.
If you decide to try eggshells, simply remove the top quarter of the shell and add soil and your flower bulb. Do not worry if the shell does not break evenly as long as it creates a bowl shape.
- Add gravel or soil to your pot of choice.
- Place the bulb inside the pot and add more soil to hold the bulb into place. Suppose using an eggshell, cover the shell with moss to anchor the bulb into position.
- Find a sunny location indoors and water the flower bulbs gently.
- Continue watering and rotating your pot in sunlight as necessary. Allow the soil to dry in between watering. Rotating your bulbs will help them grow upright without leaning in the direction of the sun.
- No matter which bulb you decided to plant, you should see buds forming and starting to blossom within six weeks of potting.
After your bulb has blossomed and the outdoor weather is warmer, it is time to decide if you intend to keep your plants indoors or if you’re moving them outside. Bulbs, even when blossomed, can be maintained and cared for indoors for their lifespan. Tulip blossoms, for example, only last 1 to 2 weeks but can repeatedly bloom throughout the season. Bulbs themselves can live for a few years. If you move your bulbs outdoors in warmer seasons, consider bringing them back inside before cooler months and restarting the chilling and prepping process to plant flower bulbs indoors.
How long your plant blooms last will strictly depend on the environment and the plant type. Home kept on the cooler side but with plenty of sunlight will have longer-lasting blooms than those with flowers in homes over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some bulbs produce blooms that last for 1 to 2 weeks, and some bulbs bloom and can last around four weeks.
Bulbs do not need much space to bloom. Using an eggshell is an excellent idea if considering moving from indoors to outdoors. If going to keep your bulbs strictly indoors, then a simple small pot will be perfect. Make sure your pot of choice allows drainage to prevent rot and mold. Gravel and sand-type soils are best for this, plus allowing the soil to dry before watering again will also help significantly.
No, one bulb is not better than another. This comes down to personal preference and what type of flower you like and want to grow.
Consider doing some research on different types of bulbs to figure out which is best for your environment.
A good thing to keep in mind is that some bulbs will be more complex to force grow blooms than others, but it does not mean that it cannot be done. Daffodils are known to be more challenging to force grow indoors. But, if you follow recommended care steps and stay adamant, it can be done and is very rewarding.
Chilling a flower bulb is necessary to preserve the embryos and to force start blooming indoors before mother nature would normally begin. Chilling bulbs can also help keep your bulbs in good condition and lasting longer than they would if left outdoors.
Yes, most bulbs can be dug up, prepped, and replanted indoors. Most bulbs are similar to the Tulip, and even if it is kept outdoors and goes dormant in the Winter, it will rebloom next Spring season. Bulbs commonly last for a few years if well cared for before needing to be replaced.