Forcing bulbs for Christmas

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I love to have bulbs growing indoors ready to bloom around Christmas time. But even before the flowers arrive, there’s something very naturalistic and simple about those little green shoots and they look beautiful when displayed in a pretty container.

My favourites would have to be Narcissus Paperwhite but I often find these quite difficult to procure. They’re no doubt very popular, with their miniature white clusters and delicate perfume.

More strongly-scented are hyacinths. These are very easy to come by, and if you’re planting them indoors be sure to buy those which have been prepared for this (bulbs for indoor forcing have been cold-treated in advance so they think it’s now time to start producing flowers).

This year, I’m growing hyacinths in bulb vases. It’s really easy: just put each one in a bulb vase (ensure the base of the bulb isn’t quite touching the water), pop them in a cool and dark place (mine are in a kitchen cupboard) and leave them until the green shoots appear at the top of the bulb.

The roots will grow downwards into the water – this can be changed every week or so to keep it fresh. Once the green shoots come, you can move the bulbs somewhere a bit warmer – ideally a north-facing window – for them to bloom. Continue to change the water periodically, and to turn the container so the plants don’t lean over in one direction.

Finally, sit back and enjoy the flowers and perfume. 

Thanks for reading,