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Forcing Bulbs

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

How can you enjoy flowers indoors all winter? Plant amaryllis and paperwhites!


Growing bulbs in winter is called forcing. You force the bulb to bloom in a season when it wouldn’t usually be in flower. The easiest bulbs to force are paperwhites, the fragrant members of the daffodil family with clusters of white flowers, and amaryllis, which offer big trumpet-shaped flowers of red, white, pink, yellow, coral, and bicolors.

You can force bulbs in two ways: in water or in soil.

How to Force Bulbs

Bulbs in soil

In Water
First, fill a bowl with gravel. You can use any size of gravel. (You can also use stones or other decorative fillers such as colorful sea glass or marbles). Insert the bulbs. You don't need to bury them. Just snug their roots into the gravel. Only the roots should touch the water (otherwise the bulb can rot). Pour water into the dish until it reaches the roots of the bulbs. Don't overfill. Set in a sunny window. Your bulbs will begin to sprout green leaves in a week or two, and they will bloom in a month or more.

In Soil
Add potting soil to a container. Choose a pot that's deep and wide enough to fit the large amaryllis bulb. Then add soil to the bottom of the container. Insert bulbs, then backfill with potting soil so bulbs are not touching the sides of the pot. Each bulb should stick up a little, but the base should be buried enough to support the stems that will develop. Water the soil, taking care not to pour water onto the bulbs themselves. Set in a sunny window. Bulbs will begin to sprout green leaves in a week or so, and they should bloom in 4 to 6 weeks.