The fall season reminds us of lots of plants- evergreen trees, boxwood wreaths, christmas cactuses, poinsettias. These plants are lovely, and have their charms. But autumn flowering bulbs are enchanting for so many reasons!
Indoor bulbs are technically being “forced”, meaning that you’re controlling their bloom cycle by activating the bulb when you want it to grow for the holidays. There are several types of bulbs that need to be chilled for long periods before you can force them, but there are two stunning types of bulbs that are easy-peasy. To chill period needed. These easy bloomers are Amaryllis and Paperwhite Narcissus.
The first think you’ll notice about Amaryllis bulbs is that they’re huge. Like bigger than the size of an adult’s fist. This makes perfect sense when you see an Amaryllis in full bloom, because they’re rather huge. In a majestic, commanding way that can stop walking people in their tracks the first time they see one.
These giant beauties can be found easily in home improvement stores and plant nurseries, and even some grocery stores this season. They often come with a pretty pot and some soil for super easy planting. After you plant these you’ll want to prevent them from being soggy or drying out, and give them a couple of weeks of filtered light before putting them into full sunlight. When the bulb is in full bloom, moving it to filtered sun will help the bloom last longer.
The bloom can stay on an Amaryllis for six to eight weeks.
While the sight of an Amaryllis might make people stop and stare, it’s the smell of the paperwhite narcissus that commands attention.
Paperwhites are tall stalks with dainty white, white and yellow, or yellow flowers. They can be grown with or without soil, using pebbles to keep them upright in a little water. This can make for some gorgeous display opportunities. If you grow them in water, you’ll need to be sure the bulb isn’t submerged more than ⅓ under the water level, which really only needs to cover the roots that emerge from the bottom.
It can take four to six weeks after being “awoken” before paperwhites bloom, and then the blooms last about a week. Start a few every week for a collection that continues having inbloom flowers throughout the holidays.