(Contributed) Amaryllis.

Gardening: Continuous blooms from Christmas until Valentine’s Day

The display you design with these bulbs is where the true fun begins.

Hyacinths, ‘Paperwhite’ narcissus and amaryllis are winter delights to enjoy in our homes when the weather has transformed our outdoor gardens into cold, grey, bleak winterscapes.

These ‘indoor’ bulbs are specially prepared to bloom easily indoors. The trick, however, is to create the very best conditions for optimum flowering over the longest period of time.

Some of the easiest bulbs to bring to bloom are fragrant ‘prepared’ hyacinths. Available in red, white, pink, blue and purple, they are generally larger-sized bulbs and produce the largest flowers. It works well to pot them up as singles or triples in 10 or 15 cm pots, especially if you use contemporary-styled decorator pots. Most folks prefer to use either a hyacinth vase, which holds the bulbs on top allowing the roots to filter down into the water or a clear glass rose bowl with colourful rocks holding the bulbs up and in place, while the roots feather down to the water below the rocks.

Whatever way you choose to set them out, remember the display is half the artistic value.

‘Paperwhite’ narcissus are the most popular indoor bulbs perhaps because a narcissus blooming indoors reminds us their outdoor cousins will be doing the same come spring.

The display you design with these bulbs is where the true fun begins.

I love to create beautiful presentations using tall, cylindrical, clear vases with colourful stones on the bottom, water below and the bulbs nesting on top. Shallow, coloured glass containers work well, too, as long as you can see the lovely white roots developing.

Another great way to display them is planted in tall, thin, clay pots with green moss over the soil and red huckleberry twigs placed in the pot to accent and support the stems as they grow.

For success with hyacinths and ‘Paperwhites,’ give these bulbs a cool start (5 C) to ensure the slow development of good roots and sturdy stems and leaves. You’ll destroy the beauty of these flowers if you let them rocket out of the bulbs.

Start them near a cool window, outside on the patio if temperatures are above freezing or even in your fridge until the roots have formed and the stems are just emerging with the flower head inside. With a cool start, they will be much more attractive, and as they grow, try to keep them as cool as you can for the longest enjoyment.

Amaryllis are the granddaddy of all indoor flower bulbs, and probably the most spectacular. It is important to start with larger bulbs, ones measuring about 29 cm, to guarantee good flower stems.

To double your enjoyment, select 34 cm size bulbs, and you should expect two blossom stems. The colour range now available is quite remarkable, from reds, oranges, pinks and whites to bi-colours. If you want to try something a little different, quite a few species types, with unique colours (like green), flower sizes and forms, are now available. The new ‘Nymph’ series have fully double blossoms.

For the best results with amaryllis, plant the bulbs in a pot just large enough to accommodate the particular size that you have and no more. About 25-30 per cent of the bulb should be above the soil.

It’s always wise to use well-drained soil to prevent root-rot from over-watering. They require a well-lighted location, temperatures of 22 to 24 C, and no feeding is necessary at this point in their growing cycle.

Again, it is best to bring them along slowly in order to develop compact, sturdy stems. Their leaves may or may not open easily, but don’t be concerned – what’s important is to have nice strong stems.

As they begin to flower, you can extend their bloom time by keeping them cool, around 12 to 18 C.

Some growers even put them in floral coolers to hold them back. Keep them just moist. When each stem finishes blooming, cut it off, but let the leaves grow. Keep them in a cool window until they can go in the garden next spring.

Start several bulbs in sequence to enjoy continuous blooms from Christmas until Valentine’s Day.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge neighbourhood rallies together for Saturday garage sale

Event aimed to bring Albion residents together – but not too close – while the financially strapped

Farmers market returns to downtown Maple Ridge

Next Saturday, July 18 people can shop at the newly reconfigured market in Memorial Peace Park

Ridge Meadows RCMP catch three more impaired drivers overnight

Local Mounties served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Cocooning pays dividends for local environmental group

A butterfly adoption program helps keep the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge afloat

Maple Ridge redirects $225,000 from RCMP to community safety needs

A new manager and two community safety officers join a team patrolling the city’s downtown streets

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Most Read