Monday, December 6, 2010

Simple Christmas: Forcing Narcissus Bulbs

In keeping with my simple and natural Christmas theme this year, I started a florist shop. No... just kidding. But I did start a whole bunch of Paperwhite Narcissus bulbs in various containers to spread throughout the house.  Even if you start some right away, they probably won't bloom in time for Christmas unless they are well on their way to sprouting (they typically need 4-6 weeks to bloom), but you could have them ready for the after Christmas blahs of January. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Once these are taller, I'll add moss around them to fill in the space. 
I'm thinking these will go nicely on the coffee table or kitchen island.

This collection will go on the table behind the sofa that 
divides our living room from our dining and kitchen area.

The sunroom? I'm still trying to decide.

All the bulbs just getting started. The red and blue containers will go in 
each of the girls rooms so our out-of-town guests can enjoy a bit 
of holiday cheer. The rusty tin container... perhaps in the guest bathroom.

How To Force Narcissus

• Select a water tight container, potting soil or pebbles, bulbs, and water. (Tall containers help support the stems and leaves.)

• Fill container about 3/4 with moist (but not wet) potting soil or about 1/3 of pebbles (unless using a really tall container). 

• Place bulbs directly on surface, pointed end up. For potting soil, cover the bulbs, but leave 1/3 - 1/4 of the bulb exposed. For pebbles, no additional stones are needed.

• Keep soil moist. For pebbles, keep the water level just at the bottom of the bulb. You do not want the bulb to be sitting in water or it will rot (you do want the roots in the water.)

• Place in a dark, cool location until roots are about 2 inches long (50 degrees is good). 

• When roots are established, move your container to a bright, warm location. You may need to rotate your container regularly as the foliage will stretch toward the light. If there isn't enough light, your bulbs will get leggy and flop over,and they may anyway. Be prepared to support the stems and leaves if necessary. A pretty ribbon tied around the foliage and a support will look lovely.

Perhaps when they're in bloom I'll post some more photos. I'm hoping I timed these just right. Seems a bit tricky to me, but I'm know that even if they're blooming before or after Christmas, rather than right on the 25th, they'll be a joy to behold!

Are you using any plants in your Christmas decorating this year?


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