Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
I CAN STILL RECALL the excitement here last winter when true-blue grape hyacinths (Muscari) bloomed in my parlor window (above; click to enlarge). These filled the entire room with such a marvelous springtime perfume that I thought the snow outside was a mirage. Muscari is extremely easy to force into early bloom:
In October (or even early November), plant Muscari in a smallish bowl of pebbles and water. Choose a bowl that is at least 3 inches in depth. My blue and white china bowl, pictured up top, is 6 inches wide and 3 inches deep — the perfect size to accommodate 10 bulbs.
Fill the bowl half-full with pebbles (I use aquarium gravel), and arrange the bulbs on the surface. Be sure to set the bulbs with their pointed tips facing up.
Add water just to the base of the bulbs.
Spread additional pebbles around and between the bulbs in order to anchor them. When all is finished, the top half or so each bulb will be exposed.
Now set the bowl in a cool and light (not sunny) window for 10 weeks. During this time grassy green sprouts will emerge. Check the water level weekly, and add more water as evaporation takes place. Then, in February, bring the bulbs to the sunny window garden. There the tiny blue cones of scented buds will quickly emerge. You will enjoy, as I do, not only the fragrant flowers — but the ease of obtaining them, too.
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Blooming Bulbs for February
I love grape hyacinths. It's not too late to plant them now?
Well, it certainly looks easy enough. I'll stop by home depot today and get some of these little bulbs. I imagine the fragrance is much stronger indoors than out. And by February when there is nothing but snow outside, these flowers will be a welcome sight.
Dumb question, but where do you get aquarium gravel? Walmart?
We have been hit by an early, rainy, windy fall here in Anchorage, AK, so it’s time to shut down the outdoor gardens and start thinking about the indoor possibilities! I love having flowers in the winter – and at a buck-a-stem for tulips at the store, this might just save a bundle of money too. I’m going to have to set my husband to the task of creating my window gardens so I can get this going soon.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Jesica – I’m with you — lots of flowers for winter enjoyment in the house. And forced bulbs and other flowering houseplants make terrific (and free!) centerpieces when company calls. Hope you get to set up a window garden with glass shelves — you’ll love the decorative effect.