University of Illinois Extension

Bring Some Spring Indoors

Getting cabin fever? Need some spring now? Then consider buying potted bulbs. At this time of year, potted tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other spring flowers are being sold at affordable prices. Choose plants that are in bud but not yet open for maximum enjoyment as you watch the plants finish maturing and the blooms opening into their prime.

James Schuster, Extension Educator, Horticulture with University of Illinois Extension suggests you protect the plants for the trip from the store to your home. Double bag (if possible) the plants if temperatures are below freezing. Have a warm car and do not make any stops between the store and home. These plants like it cool – they do not like it freezing.

Once home, place the potted flowers in a bright location but if possible avoid direct sunlight. Sunlight reflecting on the pots and plants warms them up to temperatures often above the air temperature. The added warmth tends to speed up the life cycle of the plants thus shortening their bloom time. In addition, try and maintain the air temperature at 72 degrees F. or below. A cool temperature stretches the life of the plant and its blooming time.

Avoid over watering or under watering. Over watering causes the roots to rot off thus shortening blooming time as well as the life of the plant. Under watering puts the plant under drought stress and also shortens the blooming time. Keep the soil moist without being wet. There is no need to feed these potted bulbs. All the nutrients are already in the bulb, and the plants do not need supplement feeding.

For maximum effect, group several pots together. Use the colors of the flowers to complement or even to contrast with each other. Thus making a statement entirely yours. Either way can be fun. Potted flowering bulbs can help lift some of the drab of winter and bring spring a little early to your home.