This is the perfect time to plant indoor bulbs to ensure they provide a fabulous display on the big day.
The golden rule is to make sure you get hold of ‘prepared’ or ‘treated’ bulbs which have been primed to flower quickly once you bring them inside and pot them up. You can force them yourself but that means starting in August/September and involves a lot more preparation.
- Hyacinths are lovely as indoor flowers. Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Blue Pearl’ is a rich, deep purple and white flowered, Hyacinthus orientalis ‘White Pearl’ is simply elegant.
- Narcissus ‘Paper White’ is the best indoor daffodil to grow for Christmas, it’s pure white and strongly scented.
- Amaryllis are very traditional for Christmas but look for a white one like, Hippeastrum ‘Christmas Gift’, which is a bit different from the usual bright red or striped ones.
CHOOSE A CONTAINER
You can use practically anything to plant the bulbs in, as long as it has drainage holes. Traditional terracotta pots always look lovely but there are really stylish zinc and galvanized steel pots and troughs available.
PREP THE SOIL
Use something quite heavy to plant the bulbs in. The peat that ready-potted hyacinths come in is often too light to hold the heavy flower up – especially when it gets a bit dry. Try a mix of half garden soil and half potting compost, this will be sturdy enough to hold up even the heaviest amaryllis stems.
Fill your container with the soil and compost mixture and place the bulbs so that their tips will just reach below the soil surface. Keep it all moist but not too wet, make sure the water is draining away properly.
INCLUDE A TOP DRESSING
Adding a layer of moss to cover the soil is an attractive way to dress the top of the pot. Look out for bags of moss in garden centres, or scout some out in a shady spot in the garden.
Hyacinth bulbs in particular can be irritating to the skin, so if you’re handling them it’s worth wearing gloves and tuck your sleeves into the gloves to protect your wrists.