Grape Hyacinth: Growing Indoors
Grape hyacinth is an easy to grow flowering bulb that resembles tiny clusters of upside down grapes when in bloom. It is a favorite among home gardeners due to its low maintenance. This early bloomer multiplies quickly and spreads on its own, filling a limited space with beautiful cobalt blue flowers and grass like foliage.
They are planted in the winter and bloom in early spring, but the advantage of growing them indoors allows the home gardener to force them into early bloom and thus enjoy their sight and fragrance all through the winter.
Follow these simple steps to grow these inexpensive bulbs in a container indoors.
Step 1 – Place Bulbs in a Cold Area
In order to grow them indoors and enjoy their bloom period through the winter, the grape hyacinth bulbs need to be placed in an area with temperatures between 35 degrees F and 45 degrees F.
Take a container that is 6 inches wide and 8 inches deep, with adequate drainage holes to prevent bulb rot. Plant 12 to 15 bulbs in it, spaced an inch apart with the pointy edge upwards, and cover with moist potting soil till an inch below the container rim. Move the container to a cool dark location for 10 to 12 weeks. You can place the container in a basement, an unheated cellar or even a refrigerator. If you opt for the refrigerator, make sure you keep it away from fruits or vegetables.
Step 2- Inspect the Bulbs Frequently
Check the bulbs frequently during the weeks they are placed in a cool location to make sure the soil does not dry. Do not water too much; just enough water to keep the soil moist is fine.
Step 3 – Move Container to Indirect Sunlight
After 12 weeks rooting time in a cold environment, the bulbs will grow a network of tiny roots that will eventually seep out of the drainage holes of the container. This will indicate the bulbs are ready to begin flowering, so move the container to a location with indirect sunlight, where the temperature is 60 degrees F, to encourage leaf and flower growth.
Step 4 – Move to Bright Location to Stimulate Flowering
Once the shoots are 5 to 6 inches long, move the container to another bright indoor location, which receives direct sunlight. This will help stimulate blooming since hot air pushes the bulbs to flower. Keep checking to make sure the soil in the container has not dried out.
Step 5 – Prolong Flowering
Most bulbs will take 3 weeks to bloom after being removed from the cold location. When the buds begin to take color, move the container to any cool area in your home to prolong flowering. Continue watering frequently.
Step 6 – Plant Outdoors
After the bulbs have flowered, you can pick the hardy ones to plant outdoors so they can bloom again next year.
To enjoy the beautiful flowers displayed indoors for a longer period of time, you can plant a few containers and bring each out into the warmth in turns.