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How to Force Bulbs to Bloom this Winter

Each bulb variety is different and requires various lengths of time and conditions to grow. Some bulbs need to be chilled in the refrigerator for weeks at a time. Here are two of the easiest and quickest bulb options for you that don't require chilling at all.

When it comes to projects like this one, I always make a few myself, but I give my son supplies to make his own. He loves to talk to his plants and sing them songs. You can even make a game out of it to see which bulb sprouts the fastest.

Photograph by Getty Images

Paperwhites:

  1. Add fine gravel (found at hardware or even a pet store), to a clear, shallow dish or even a Mason jar. (The mason jar will give your kids an epic view of the sprouting process.)
  2. Place your bulbs on top, then add a little more gravel. Make sure you have enough gravel to cover at least 1/3 of the blub, but it's preferred if you cover it completely.
  3. Pour water so it reaches the base of the bulbs.
  4. Place your bulb in a cool 55- to 60-degree room for at least 7 days to stimulate its roots, then transfer it to a warm, sunny spot in your home. As the blooms start to open, remove from direct light.

You'll see blooms in 4-6 weeks.

Photograph by Twenty20

Amaryllis:

Note: When buying these bulbs, select ones that already have some roots growing. It's a great head start for this project. Also, for this plant, be sure to choose a small pot. It really likes its roots to feel crowded.

  1. Fill the pot partially with potting soil and place your bulb on top.
  2. Add more soil, exposing the top third of the bulb.
  3. Water the bulb. Make sure all of the water drains completely from the bottom of the pot. Be sure not to overwater or it won't grow and you'll want to keep the soil moist but not wet.
  4. Place the plant in bright light and in a 70-degree room. The warmer the temperature in the house, the faster it will sprout.

Within 2-8 weeks, you should see a stalk shoot up.

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