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10 Easy Pieces: Flower Bulbs for Forcing

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10 Easy Pieces: Flower Bulbs for Forcing

October 10, 2018

Winter’s greatest luxury? Flowers in bloom. Forced bulb season is officially underway. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up 10 flowering bulbs—including snowy paperwhites, amaryllis, hyacinths, and tulips—to coax into early bloom by the time the holiday season arrives. (All of our choices will arrive pre-chilled and ready to flower.)

For tips about how to persuade bulbs to bloom indoors in winter, see Forced Bulbs: A Primer.

Amaryllis

A white Amaryllis &#8\2\16;Matterhorn&#8\2\17; will reach a height of \18 inches or more and is \$\18 per bulb at White Flower Farm. Pre-order now for November shipment.
Above: A white Amaryllis ‘Matterhorn’ will reach a height of 18 inches or more and is $18 per bulb at White Flower Farm. Pre-order now for November shipment.

Tip: If an amaryllis bulb has started to sprout during the shipping process, don’t worry if the growth is a pale, ghostly white; it will turn green within a few days of exposure to sunlight.

Imported from Holland, an Amaryllis White Nymph bulb with double white blossoms is \$\18.50 from Longfield Gardens.
Above: Imported from Holland, an Amaryllis White Nymph bulb with double white blossoms is $18.50 from Longfield Gardens.

Growing Instructions: Planted with a mix of tulip, hyacinth, and muscari, the cachepot should be placed in a warm, sunny spot in a cool room. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch (push aside the moss to test the dryness).

An Amaryllis &#8\2\16;Exotic Star&#8\2\17; bulb is \$36 at Terrain.
Above: An Amaryllis ‘Exotic Star’ bulb is $36 at Terrain.

Growing Instructions: “Place bulb upright in bright or direct sunlight,” advises retailer Terrain, choosing a spot protected from cold drafts or hot air. “Bulb does not need to be watered to initiate growth; may rot if kept too wet.”

Hyacinth

A selection of Hyacinth bulbs are on sale for prices ranging from \$\13 for \10 to \$\2\2.\10 for \20 at Longfield Gardens.
Above: A selection of Hyacinth bulbs are on sale for prices ranging from $13 for 10 to $22.10 for 20 at Longfield Gardens.

Growing Instructions: Place in indirect sun and water only if the vase or bowl is dried out completely.

A Bulbs for Christmas Collection including \25 hyacinth and narcissus bulbs is £\29.98 from Crocus.
Above: A Bulbs for Christmas Collection including 25 hyacinth and narcissus bulbs is £29.98 from Crocus.

Growing Instructions: “When potted up and grown on indoors, the bulbs in this collection will create a bright and cheerful display that can be used to dress the Christmas table. Once flowering has finished, they can be planted outside, where they will go on to flower year after year,” notes the retailer.

Paperwhite

Paperwhites are \$\2.95 apiece or, if you buy more, three for \$4.95 or five for \$7.95 at Garden Goods Direct.
Above: Paperwhites are $2.95 apiece or, if you buy more, three for $4.95 or five for $7.95 at Garden Goods Direct.
A bag of \10 Paperwhite &#8\2\16;Ziva&#8\2\17; bulbs is \$\19.95 (also available in quantities of \20 for \$3\1.95 and 50 for \$64.95) from Eden Brothers. Photograph via Terrain.
Above: A bag of 10 Paperwhite ‘Ziva’ bulbs is $19.95 (also available in quantities of 20 for $31.95 and 50 for $64.95) from Eden Brothers. Photograph via Terrain.

Growing Instructions: You can force bulbs in water (suspended in a vase) or in soil or stone (choose a container deep enough to accommodate at least one inch of root growth).

Sourced from Irrael, a \10-count bag of fragrant white Narcissus Tazetta Ziva bulbs is \$\10.50 from Longfield Gardens.
Above: Sourced from Irrael, a 10-count bag of fragrant white Narcissus Tazetta Ziva bulbs is $10.50 from Longfield Gardens.

Growing Instructions: Plant bulbs six inches deep in soil or place them in a shallow bowl on top of a layer of pebbles. Keep roots moist but not soggy; flowers will bloom in four weeks.

Tulip

A collection of \25 Pre-chilled Mixed Triumph Tulips is \$\16.49 on Amazon.
Above: A collection of 25 Pre-chilled Mixed Triumph Tulips is $16.49 on Amazon.

Mixed Bulbs

A large metal cachepot planted with 36 bulbs, a Spring Sonata Bulb Collection is \$79 from White Flower Farm. Pre-order now for December shipping.
Above: A large metal cachepot planted with 36 bulbs, a Spring Sonata Bulb Collection is $79 from White Flower Farm. Pre-order now for December shipping.

Would you prefer to plant bulbs in the garden for spring flowers? See Your First Garden: What You Need to Know Before You Plant Bulbs. Read more:

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