If starting these bulbs for Blue Monday, buy ‘prepared’ bulbs in December or already ‘pre-prepared and potted’ bulbs. Prepared bulbs have already been through the cold process. Once planted and watered they only need to be left in the cold for 4-5 weeks. Place in a warm, sunny spot where they will flower in 4-5 weeks. Bulbs that have already been ‘prepared and potted’ can be left outside in a place free from frost for 1-2 weeks to postpone their flowering until the 2nd week of January.
If buying normal un-prepared bulbs and starting this activity in September or October the cold period varies depending on what bulb you choose.
Here are our suggestions for easier growing;
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) – soak the bulb for two hours then plant, in a pot just slightly larger than the bulb. These plants like being ‘pot bound’ (have only a little growing space) so a tall thin pot is ideal. No cold period is required, so plant these bulbs straight away and watch them grow. It will take 10 weeks from planting to flowering. See our video about Amaryllis here.
Hyacinth – cool for 8-10 weeks, then bring into the warmth where they should take about 3 weeks to flower.
Paper-white Daffodils (Narcissus) – cool for 6-10 weeks, then bring into the warmth. Once inside they should take about 5-6 weeks to flower. You can grow these in a vase with grit, see our video here.
Iris – cool for 15 weeks, then bring into the warmth. Once inside they should take about 2 weeks to flower.
During the cold periods, keeping bulbs frost-free prevents any damage to new growth that grows from the bulbs. Protecting them this way helps the bulbs produce better leaves and flowers. Frost damage can look like black or brown burn marks on any green growth.
Gather supportive sticks from the garden. Clean them with water and let them dry before using. Alternatively buy some canes or use food skewers with some string.