Planting Bulbs for Christmas

Although Christmas may seem like weeks and weeks away, there are a few things that take time to get ready, including amaryllis, narcissus and other bulbs. Last year I planted my bulbs at the beginning of November, and I had gorgeous blooms starting mid-December lasting past Christmas Day. This timing worked perfectly since we spent Christmas with our families and we were able to enjoy the flowers before we were away.

If you’ve been following this year’s Holiday Countdown, planting bulbs was already part of the homework. Last week I mentioned I was going to try something new this year and plant a few bulbs with water and no soil. I was definitely convinced after seeing these inspiration pics.






After doing some research, I found out that as long as the bulb roots are immersed in water (not the bulb), paperwhites (narcissus) will thrive. To create my own, I placed about 2″ of river rock at the bottom of a square glass vase and added water until it was just below the rock surface (bulbs will rot if submerged in water). Next, I placed paperwhite bulbs on top of the rocks with the roots facing down.



As suggested, paperwhite bulbs do best in a cool spot out of direct sunlight for 4-10 days, so I placed mine on my kitchen counter. Apparently the roots will search out the water and begin to grow through the rock. Crossing fingers!

To prevent the plant from getting too leggy, it’s suggested to add a mixture of 1 part alcohol to 10-12 parts water once the green shoots arrive, and top it up only as needed. At this time they can be moved to a sunny warm location to speed up blooming.

Just in case this all goes horribly wrong, I decided to also plant a few pots using the soil method, which is very easy to do. I simply planted the bulbs roots down in soil and covered them so the tops popped out. I lightly watered each pot and placed them on my kitchen counter out of direct sunlight as well. I will move these to a sunny spot when I decorate for Christmas.



In the past, I’ve seen blooms in as early as 4 weeks, but typically it takes a little longer. Once they bloom, it’s sometimes necessary to stake or tie them with something to keep upright.

Here are a few beautiful inspiration pics using bulbs to decorate for Christmas.









I hope I’ve convinced you to try your own hand at planting bulbs for Christmas. Let me know how it goes! See you tomorrow for week 3 of the Holiday Countdown.

Shauna Oberg


Sharing with: Beyond the Picket Fence, The 36th Avenue, It’s Overflowing

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  1. says

    I really like the look of the bulbs in water/rock/clear vase… I’m almost convinced to give it a go, but I think I should see how mine in dirt do first. I’ve never done this before, so better not push my luck! On the other hand… maybe I’ll try an amaryllis in the water method. If it works, it would be so awesome to have both!

  2. says

    I’m convinced! I thought about doing this last year and didn’t get around to it. I might be a bit behind right now, but I’m ok with that. Do you save the bulbs to use them year after year? If so, how do you store? Thanks for the great inspiration pics. I think I will pin a few…I’m thinking about a mostly green, white, and natural scheme this year. Several of these pics fit with that scheme!

    • says

      This year I bought all new bulbs because mine seemed to not have as much vigor last year as the previous years. Normally I just store them in a box in the basement and they make out fine. I’ve been told cool and dark is the best. Good luck! Mine had a bit of a slow start, but seem to be taking off now.

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