About a month ago, my friend, next door neighbor & fellow gardenista, Stephenie surprised me by bringing over a tall, blue, glass thing with a bulb of some kind sort of sitting on top. She explained to me that the pretty glass container was made specially to force bulbs indoors, with a narrow top that allowed a bulb to perch and grow roots into the water below – no dirt required. The bulb she’d put into it was one of the hyacinths I’d given her back in November, when we were both in a bit of an outdoor bulb-planting frenzy.
Well as you can see, after I watched and waited patiently for the last few weeks, the forced hyacinth has now begun to unfurl its bloom upward. And it’s beautiful! Like all hyacinths, it also smells yummy and springlike.
After Stephenie gave me the bulb growing in the special bulb-forcing vase thingie, I looked around the house to see if I had anything similar that would allow me to force one or two more (I had some left over from fall planting). Alas, I couldn’t find anything with that narrowing at the top that would support the bulb without letting it sink into the water beneath. So I came up with a different idea. I took one of the gazillion mason jars we have all over the place, and I filled it to just below the rim with small, smooth pebbles. And then I filled it with water, which spread the pebbles out a bit. I put my bulb – a tulip this time – into the jar, resting on the pebbles with water just lapping the bottom of it, just as it would in a proper bulb vase.
And voila! It worked. The bulb has grown great, and I even get to watch its admittedly somewhat creepy looking roots-slash-tentacles work their way down into the pebbles and water as it grows. I then started a third bulb in the same way, but in a smaller, shallow dish. I will move it to its own mason jar soon.
This has been a fun little indoor winter garden spot for me as I impatiently await spring and the start of outdoor gardening. It’s also been super easy; these three guys don’t even get any sun where I have them sitting, and yet they continue to grow quite happily on their low-cal diet of rocks, air and water. I will probably do a whole bunch more forced bulbs next January and February.