|How And When To Force Bulbs|
|Create Show-stopping Indoor Flower Displays
(ARA) - Many people are confused about how and when to force bulbs and think it must be much more complicated than it looks. As with any show, the key to creating a beautiful forced-bulb flower display is setting the proper stage. That starts with giving your plants a comfortable setting, refreshments, cool temperatures and low light. When show time arrives, the lights and the temperature come up and your flowers' urge to emerge is irresistible.
There are only two types of bulbs for indoor growing: those you need to pre-chill and those you don't. For fool-proof flower displays of pre-chilled bulbs, growers such as Dutch Gardens make available several pre-potted flower arrangements that come pre-chilled and are ready to bloom in about 3 to 4 weeks once they’re delivered to your door. Here are two easy ways to get beautiful color in your home:
You Are Guaranteed Success with These Bulbs
Two of the simplest bulbs to grow are amaryllis and warmth-loving narcissus varieties such as paperwhites. These are zone 8 to 9 bulbs, which have never known winter; so don't expect a cooling period.
Here’s where you can add your special touch by choosing a glass dish, large saucer or pot to plant these types of bulbs. Just fill with soil; each bulb will come with planting instructions. Or just grow them in a shallow bowl and use pebbles to hold the bulbs in place. They'll usually bloom just four weeks after "planting." To help keep stems short and sturdy, provide indirect light and temperatures of about 50 degrees F for the first two weeks, and then warmer, brighter conditions after that. If you're growing your bulbs in water, it should cover no more than the bottom one-fourth to one-third of the bulb.
Amaryllis are available in many interesting colors and forms: There are bright reds, but you can also have white, lilac or peach, with single or double blossoms. Try the smashing new and striking amaryllis called Charisma. It took years for the Dutch Amaryllis breeders to produce this unique variety that displays a sumptuous color combination of “raspberries and cream.” For a long lasting flowering extravaganza of dazzling amaryllis blooms, try growing three amaryllis in one pot. This grand sight will stop any flower lovers in their tracks!
Paperwhites offer beauty and a strong scent. Buy a couple dozen of these no-chill bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place. Start some every few weeks for blooms right through the winter months.
Want Absolute Fool-proof Color? Try Pre-Chilled Plantings
Bulbs that need pre-chilling require cool temperatures to stimulate a biochemical response inside the bulb, which "turns on" the embryonic flower so it starts developing. Most bulbs need 16 to 18 weeks of cold before the flower is fully formed. At that point they're ready for light and warmth. If you cut the time short, the flowers will emerge, but they will not be fully formed.
To force these bulbs yourself, you need to plan about 16 to 18 weeks ahead of time. Fortunately, Dutch Gardens has already done this work for you. All their bulb plantings are pre-chilled; so all you have to do is add water, place the planted bulb basket in a bright spot, and experience an early spring as it unfolds on your windowsill.
To help chase away the gray days of winter and enjoy the full bounty of spring, try the Deluxe Mixed Dutch Garden. With this planting, you will be treated to the beautiful colors and delicate fragrances of spring with pink, white and cheery yellow daffodils; sunny yellow, strawberry and cream colored tulips; regal purple hyacinths, with their heady fragrance; and the earliest harbingers of spring, striped crocus.
If you want to give the ultimate gift to a plant-loving friend (or to yourself), consider three or six months of blooming Flower Bulb Baskets. They make spring last even longer with an array of bright, fragrant bulbs in bloom in your home from December through May.
Why make a choice between amaryllis and spring bulbs? Combine the pleasures of both with red amaryllis and pristine white tulips and fragrant hyacinths in Dutch Gardens’ Red and White Gift Basket.
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