December 1, 2007

Forcing Narcissi

What is easily grown indoors and is the perfect antidote for the doldrums of winter?  Narcissi!!!

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the fragrance and beauty of springtime in bloom by forcing bulbs indoors. Forcing is the very simple process of speeding up a bulb’s natural development by simulating the conditions of winter and spring.  So simple, in fact, that even those without a hint of green in their thumbs can find success.  If you’re new at forcing, begin with the fail-safe, paper-white-narcissus.  Tender narcissi grow naturally in warm climates and when grown indoors, they take about six weeks from potting to first bloom.  You can find these bulbs in garden shops.  Just be sure they’re labeled “good for forcing.”

Narcissi thrive in water, and they can be planted in any waterproof container.  Fill the container with clean, tiny pebbles, up to an inch from the top.  I like to take the pebbles right from the driveway.  Set the bulbs, on top of the pebbles, point up, next to one another.  Don’t worry about crowding.  The more, the merrier.  I like to weight down my bulbs with another layer of pebbles.  Add enough water until the bottom of the bulbs are sitting in it, and place the pot in a dimly lit place.  Maintain the water level and move the pot into sunlight when the narcissi begin to grow.  When flowers form, move the pot out of direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from fading too quickly.  Forced narcissi are fragrant, cheerful, and very springlike.

Photo taken from my Greenhouse yesterday!