Grow flowers now and enjoy a vibrant splash of colour for Christmastime. By Denise Brock
Now's the time to plant indoor bulbs for a colourful display at the end of the year. Follow our simple eight-step guide:
● Choose a pretty bowl - look in your local junk shop or use old tableware from the back of the crockery cupboard.
● Buy bulb compost - we like Miracle Gro's Eco Sense Bulb Booster - and dampen. Put crocks over any drainage holes and fill container halfway with compost.
● Cover with bulbs, leaving a little space between each.
● Add more compost so the tops of the bulbs show. For smaller bulbs, cover completely with 2cm of compost.
● Put in a dark, unheated space such as a garage.
● Water regularly so compost remains moist.
● When shoots appear two inches above the soil, at around 14 weeks, move the bulbs indoors to a cool place.
● Once foliage and buds are well developed put them in position for display. Avoid hot and sunny places.
You can enjoy the display for up two weeks. When your bulbs have finished flowering, cut the stems but let the foliage die back. Store in a cool, dry place, plant outside in autumn and you should have another array of blooms next year.
Hyacinths are fragrant and easy to care for; crocuses require some skill; tulips are a popular favourite; muscari have a lovely fragrance; narcissi (left) are easy to grow; amaryllis come in many varieties; snowdrops are reminders of spring; miniature irises come in stunning colours; lily of the valley has a lovely strong scent.
Growing bulbs outdoors: what to plant for all seasons