Growing flowering bulbs indoors give a fantastic look when in bloom; they can be part of a centrepiece in your festive decorations or will add some cheer and colour on a cold winter’s morning. It is an easy and cost effective way to bring elegance and fragrance into your home.
Nearly all bulbs need to grow in a well-drained but moist soil so that the roots can establish, and some also require a period of complete darkness. When the bulb is withdrawn from light, it enables root development. The leaves and flower will start reaching for the light away from the bulb once reintroduced to light. When we are growing our bulbs indoor this way, we are essentially shortening this darkness period and therefore leading the bulb to believe spring has arrived.
Follow our easy step guide and you will be enjoying a home filled with fresh flowers;
Bulb selection – Choose which bulbs you are going to plant, as there is an vast array available at this time of year. Unwins have a large selection of Spring Flowering Bulbs to ponder over. Once you’ve decided what to plant, the next choice you need to make is which pots and containers to use. Choose a pot that isn’t too big as the bulbs like to be snug. Make sure there will be adequate drainage with holes in the bottom, and try to choose a pot that will look attractive indoors when the bulbs are flowering. Make sure you add a clay saucer (or a spare kitchen saucer if you’re stuck) for the pot to sit on to collect any drained water.
Adding a layer of Westland Potting Grit at the bottom of your pot will help with drainage. On top of this layer of potting grit, add a layer of Westland Bulb Planting Compost which contains West + and will promote strong root growth for the bulbs.
Planting the bulbs into their new homes – Add in the bulbs, positioning them onto the layer of compost, do this root side down and the pointed end upwards. You need to make sure that the bulbs don’t touch each other. Once you are happy with their location add in more Westland Bulb Planting Compost filling the pot to the top. Next you need to water in but don’t overdo it as bulbs like moist soil but not overly wet.
On the move – You should now place your potted bulbs in a cool, darkened area which is sheltered. Choose an area such as behind a garage or shed; however, if there is a risk of frost then move the pot inside the garage / shed and cover with a piece of card or black polythene to protect the bulbs. This is the preparation phase and they will only be stored for a short period of time in this area.
Enlightenment – Once the leaves or flower buds start showing signs of emerging, it’s time to bring your potted plants back inside. Place in a cool, light room so the flowers can develop slowly. Make sure you place the pot on the saucer so that the excess water can be collected. If you have potted bulbs with tall flowers,(such as Amaryllis), the stems may need supporting to prevent them from flopping. You should also be watering your flowering bulbs at this stage. Use Gro-Sure All-Purpose Plant Food to aid with flower, leaf and root growth.
Deadhead – Once the bulbs have flowered, remove dead heads by cutting them off just below the flower so that you remove the seed pod too. This ensures that the plant puts all its energy back into the bulb and not into making seed. Don’t remove the leaves of the plant at this stage, as these will continue to make food that is used to bulk up the bulb for next year’s flowers.
If you are still unsure or would like to find out further information on the benefits of deadheading then read our advice article How To Deadhead Flowers.
Chop Chop. When the leaves have yellowed and withered, they can be carefully cut away from the bulb at the soil surface using a pair of scissors.
If you look after your new indoor plant, it will return the favour by giving you several weeks of enjoyment from the blooms, or if you time it right, flowering bulbs will make a beautiful Christmas gift for a special someone.