When the days are short and the weather is dull it’s lovely to have some Spring bulbs in the house, blooming and filling the air with their sweet scent to remind us that the warmer weather is really just around the corner. If you’d like some hyacinths in your hallway or daffodils on your dining table for Christmas then now is the time to think about exactly what you’d like to have and how you will display them.
Once you have decided on what flowers you’d like, think about the containers to put them in. Baskets, of all sizes, lined with thick plastic to make them waterproof are the most obvious but any container given a similar treatment would look equally beautiful.
You will need to buy ‘prepared’ bulbs for Christmas flowering – bulbs that have been specially treated to speed up their growth. I’d recommend using commercially prepared bulb fibre for potting, especially for containers where there are no drainage holes. (If you want to use regular potting compost make sure that it is open textured and free draining).
Put some well soaked bulb fibre (or potting compost) into your pot or container, leaving enough space to allow the bulbs to be placed inside with the tips just below the rim of the container. The bulbs can be placed close together but should not be touching. Cover with bulb fibre and water well. The container should then be placed in a cool spot such as a shed, or in a shady corner of the garden. Darkness is not essential but a cool temperature is. Do not put in a black plastic sack as this only encourages mould.
After 10-12 weeks young green shoots should start to appear (these will be paler if the pot has been kept in the dark). When the shoots have reached about 5cm (2 ins) in height, bring the pot into a cool room and they should flower in time for Christmas. Spring flowering bulbs at Christmas, planted in pretty containers, make a lovely gift.
Caution: The bulbs of Daffodil, Hyacinth and Narcissus are poisonous so please practise basic care by washing your hands when you have handled them.