I was at my local Tractor Supply a few days before Christmas buying bird seed, and lye for my soapmaking class. Of course, I had also picked up a garden magazine, and was dreaming of spring. Seed packets aren’t out yet, but I spied a Paperwhite Narcissus Bulb Kit at the end of the counter on sale. People often buy these kits a few weeks before Christmas to force bulbs for winter blooms. They create a fragrant centerpiece or can be used as a treat for guests to take home. They smell wonderful, and what better way to brighten a winter day? Narcissus are known by the common name daffodil.
- You can buy a kit like I did
- or buy individual bulbs that have been artificially cooled to mimic winter. You can cool your own for several weeks (according to the bulb), but it’s pretty tricky getting the right temp. I would rather pay a little extra for someone else to do the work.
- You can also root in a special vase that is shaped like an hour glass to keep the bottom of the bulb dry. Only the bulbs roots can reach down into the water, preventing the bulb from rotting.
- and a third way is to place pebbles, pea stone, or glass gems in a shallow container. Set the bulbs on top, and add more pebbles until only the top 1/3 of the bulb shows. Add water but not to the level of the bottom of the bulb. It will rot. The roots will reach down into the water.
So…back to my kit. It contained a plastic pot, a planting medium disc that needed to have water added, and the bulb. You notice the bulb has sprouted, but it won’t create a bloom until it is rooted.
The planting medium was initally a disc as you see in the first picture. I placed the disc in the bottom of the bowl, added 2 cups warm water, and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 2 minutes, it had swollen and was coming over the bowl. I checked and it had absorbed the water , so I crumbled it up, and placed it in an old vintage coffee tin with holes in the bottom. You didn’t think I was going to actually use that plastic pot did you? Lol. Bulbs are a great way to use those flea market and thrift store finds. If it doesn’t have a hole in the bottom, don’t get the soil too wet.
I placed the moistened soil in the can and put the bulb in. Added more soil until only the top 1/3 of the bulb was showing. I added a little additional water, because it felt too dry and some sphagnum moss to dress up the top.
Next, according to directions on the package, I was to place the bulb in a cool dark place such as a basement until it roots, approximately 10 days. As I am writing this, tomorrow will be 3 days, so I’ll go down and check on it to see if it needs watering. After 10 days, I will bring up to the kitchen and place in a sunny window. It needs to be watered regulary throughout the flowering period. Moist, but not soggy. Narcissus flowers have a long stalk so I will need to add a stake to the flower as it grows taller.
For more growing tips you can visit their website at http://retail.degroot-inc.com
With over 80 days until Spring, now might be a good time to bring a little cheer into the house. Other bulbs that can be forced are crocus, grape hyacinths, dwarf iris, and Scillia. Tulips can also be used, but take a considerable time longer.
My bulb stayed in the basement for 10 days. It didn’t look a lot different. I tugged on it and could tell it had taken root. I placed it in my sunny kitchen window and it seemed to grow overnight. This is day 17. It has already formed a bloom.
UPDATE: January 17, 2020 It’s Blooming! Three fragrant blooms and a bud waiting to open.
If you would like to bring a little cheer into your home, I have included a source for some of the things you may need. Just click on the picture or link to take you to Amazon.
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