Gardening TipsWhat you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb
Growing Bulbs Indoors
The outdoor gardening season is quickly coming to an end, but don’t let that stop you from gardening. You can plant bulbs indoors now, and enjoy their beautiful blooms in early winter. The nice thing about bulbs is that they are easy to grow with very little effort. They already have everything they need inside the bulb and all they need, is to be planted. The flower and the needed nutrients are stored inside the bulb so when choosing bulbs, look for the big bulbs as these will contain the biggest flowers. The easiest bulbs for indoor planting are prepared bulbs such as hyacinths and paper whites, as these have already gone through the chilling process and will bloom several weeks after they have been planted. Hyacinths and paper whites are known for their attractive, fragrant blooms.
Another very attractive and popular bulb to grow indoors this time of year is Amaryllis. The large trumpet shaped flowers grow on top of long thick stems. Each stem can have as many as 4-6 flowers, and depending on the size of the bulb, each bulb can have 2-3 stems, giving you many weeks of enjoyment. There are several different varieties to choose from, and all are equally beautiful. Also available at the garden centre are the waxed amaryllis bulbs, which are the easiest to grow. The roots are removed from the bulb and then it is covered in a wax which prevents the bulb from growing new roots. There is a variety of wax colours and finishes, making the bulb attractive as well as the flowers. Waxed Amaryllis bulbs require no planting or water, they simply grow, so they can be placed in anything. After they have finished blooming the bulb is thrown out, unlike the regular amaryllis bulbs which can be saved from one year to the next.
Bulbs planted indoors can be planted in soil or water. Growing bulbs in water is a fun project, especially when you use clear glass as you can watch the roots form. Start by choosing a container that has a diameter that is slightly larger than the bulb.Tapered containers and vases work well as the bulb sits in the wider part of the vase allowing room for the roots to grow in the slender part of the vase. Hourglass vases also work well, such as the hyacinth vase, which is specific for growing hyacinths in water. Fill the container with just enough water, so that the water level is just below the bottom of the bulb, but not sitting in it, as this will cause the bulb to rot. To add weight and a decorative touch to the vase, place some colourful stones in the bottom of the vase, before placing the bulb in. When planting in soil, use a high quality indoor potting soil and place bulbs in a deep, weighted container that is slightly larger than the bulb. Start by placing soil in the bottom of the container then place the hyacinth or paperwhite bulbs in the soil and continue to fill with enough soil so that the tip of the bulbs are still exposed. If planting more than one bulb in the container, leave enough space between the bulbs so that they are not touching. Amaryllis bulbs are planted in soil by placing a small amount of soil in the bottom of the container, than holding the bulb above the container allowing the roots to dangle down into the container, continue to fill the container with soil until the bottom half of the bulb is covered with soil leaving the top of the bulb exposed. When done the top 5 cm of the bulb should be just below the top of the container. After bulbs have been planted, tamp soil down and give a thorough water. Water sparingly until growth appears.
Hyacinths and paperwhites are placed in a dark, cool space after being planted and will remain there until the shoots are 4-5 cm long, which is when they are moved into a sunny location. Amaryllis bulbs are placed into a warm sunny location immediately after being planted. It wont take long before you get to enjoy beautiful blooms in your home. Plant a few extra and give away as gifts!