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From Bulbs to Holiday Blooms

AMARYLLIS & PAPERWHITES

Looking for an easy way to add color and fragrance to your holiday decorating? Look no further than Amaryllis or Paperwhites.

Amaryllis
Of all flowering bulbs, Amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom. The large, striking flowers and bold colors make this a must-have, holiday classic! Amaryllis bulbs are available in so many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and even orange. There are also striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Paperwhites
Another favorite holiday bulb is a member of the daffodil family, but looks much more delicate than the big yellow trumpet daffodils you see in spring. These are the most fragrant of the daffodil family, with a distinctive sweet smell that will permeate your home throughout the season.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 Bulbs (either Paperwhites or Amaryllis)
  • Nutritious potting compost or stones/pebbles
  • Decorative Container

Planting Instructions:

  • Amaryllis:Plant bulbs in potting compost. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
  • Paperwhite: You do not need any soil; just set them in a shallow dish with some pebbles, or even some nicely-colored marbles. Let the bulbs stand, flat side down, in the pebbles, so the pebbles cover about half the bulb.

Place your potted bulbs in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.

If you're left wondering when to plant these bulbs in order to have them holiday-ready, we've got you covered. Use these handy bloom calendars as a guide:

Amaryllis Bloom Calendar >>
Paperwhite Bloom Calendar >>

Check out more of our favorite plants! OUR PLANTS OF THE WEEK >>

Plant Bulbs Now for Sensational Spring Flowers

by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

Bulbs are too often afterthoughts in the garden. It’s wrong thinking, something I’ve been guilty of, too. For years, I ignored bulbs. Then, I became the energized owner of a woodsy garden where I envisioned a river of daffodils blooming in early spring. Over the course of several falls, hubby Ken and I dug holes and planted thousands of spring-flowering daffodils.

Digging planting holes around huge tree roots is a challenge, but Ken did it with good humor. I had him create holes large enough to hold about 25 bulbs each and made him promise not to ever tell anyone how I planted bulbs. Why? I literally threw them in, leaving them upside down, sideways and right side up. He laughed and kept digging. Miraculously, each spring, the daffodils emerged, leafed out and bloomed beautifully – because bulbs are smart and instinctively know to right themselves.

October is a perfect planting timeframe for spring-flowering bulbs – daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus. Daffodils and crocus like open spaces of full sun but also fare fine under tall deciduous trees where the bulbs soak up the sun they need before trees leaf out. Tulips are best in pots and gardens with all-day sun.

Bulbs need rich, organic soil that drains well. They need consistent moderate moisture but dislike soggy soil. Once your bulbs finishing flowering, allow the foliage to yellow and die back, because the photosynthesis process nourishes the bulbs for next year’s flowers. Once your spring-flowering bulbs are in the ground, plan for more year-round color with summer and fall-flowering bulbs. Like me, you’ll soon realize bulbs play starring roles in a garden’s beauty.

Filed Under: 

Plant Bulbs Now for Sensational Spring Flowers

by Kathy Van Mullekom, a lifelong gardener and gardening writer living in York County, Virginia

Bulbs are too often afterthoughts in the garden. It’s wrong thinking, something I’ve been guilty of, too. For years, I ignored bulbs. Then, I became the energized owner of a woodsy garden where I envisioned a river of daffodils blooming in early spring.

Over the course of several falls, hubby Ken and I dug holes and planted thousands of spring-flowering daffodils.Digging planting holes around huge tree roots is a challenge but Ken did it with good humor. I had him create holes large enough to hold about 25 bulbs each, and made him promise not to ever tell anyone how I planted bulbs. Why? I literally threw them in, leaving them upside down, sideways and right side up. He laughed and kept digging.

Miraculously, each spring, the daffodils emerged, leafed out and bloomed beautifully – because bulbs are smart and instinctively know to right themselves. Late September and October are the perfect planting timeframe for spring-flowering bulbs – daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and crocus. Daffodils and crocus like open spaces of full sun but also fare fine under tall deciduous trees where the bulbs soak up the sun they need before trees leaf out. Tulips are best in pots and gardens with all-day sun.

Bulbs need rich, organic soil that drains well. They need consistent moderate moisture but dislike soggy soil. Once your bulbs finishing flowering, allow the foliage to yellow and die back because the photosynthesis process nourishes the bulbs for next year’s flowers. Once your spring-flowering bulbs are in the ground, plan for more year-round color with summer- and fall-flowering bulbs. Like me, you’ll soon realize bulbs play starring roles in a garden’s beauty.

Filed Under: 

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