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Forcing Tulip Bulbs at Home (Without Soil)
Growing tulips in a glass jar without soil is a great idea for home décor. They add a pop of natural color to your space and always look fantastic. Did you know tulips can grow indoors without soil? It is not as difficult as you may think. Read this guide to find out the method for growing your own tulips indoors in elegant glass jars.
Understanding Tulip Varieties
There are about 75 wild species of tulip. There are various types of shapes and colors of the flower. Tulips from the Middle East are a bit different from the North American species. Such regional verities make the flower more attractive, depending on preference. Tulips have been classified into fifteen groups according to flower shape and the size of the plant. This guide can be applied to growing any variety of tulip.
What You'll Need
You need the following items to grow tulips in a jar. To begin this DIY project, simply collect these items:
- A clear glass jar or a vase
- Some tulip bulbs of your choice
- Colorful (or plain) pebbles or marbles
- Fill the jar with pebbles and/or small marbles. I like to use multicolor stones. However, some people prefer to have a more neutral background to make the flowers more prominent. In that case, I recommend using plain white or black pebbles.
- Do not fill more than 3–4 inches of the jar with pebbles.
- Always try to select the larger tulip bulbs. The smaller ones may come at a discounted price, but the results will not be satisfactory. Larger flowers will bloom from plants with larger bulbs. Always use healthy and firm tulip bulbs to get the best results.
- Freshly dug tulip bulbs need a "cold sleep" before use. Keep them in the freezer for about 10–15 hours prior to planting.
- After the bulbs have chilled, place them carefully inside the jar among the pebbles. Use the pebbles to keep the bulb heads facing up. Check to ensure they are nestled securely.
- Now fill the vase with water. Only fill to the level of the pebbles. You do not need much water for tulips. Make sure to keep the bulbs out of the water—the water should only come close to the bottom. Otherwise, the bulbs will soon begin to rot. If you place more than one bulb in a single jar, keep a one-inch gap between them to allow the plants to have plenty of room to grow.
- Keep the vase in a dimly lit room. Avoid direct sunlight to help the buds grow. Lack of light will enhance root growth. A cold room will yield the best results.
- Check the water level regularly. If the water level becomes low, add some to top it up. Always keep the roots hydrated and the bulbs dry.
- Keep the tulip vase in low light conditions for about a month. The roots should fully develop in that period. After that, move it into a position to get ample sun. Sunlight will stimulate the growth of the shoot. It is best to keep the plant in a bright place but not under direct sunlight. Extreme exposure to sunlight can make the plant dry out.
- The plant may grow towards the sun, resulting in a crooked tulip. Rotate the vase from time to time to avoid this.
- The plants can take 3–4 months to bloom. If you plant the tulips in the winter, it will take less time to produce flowers. To ensure blooms for the holiday season, start the process in October.
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Tips for Growing Tulips Inside
- You can buy special vases for forcing tulip bulbs. These vases have a wide mouth with a narrow neck. The bulb can sit perfectly on the neck. It will make your task easier.
- Keep tulip bulbs away from ripe fruits like apples. The gas emitted from these fruits will prevent growth.
- A thorough chilling is a must before forcing the bulbs, otherwise, the bloom will be smaller (or weaker). Without chilling, the bulbs may not yield any flowers at all.
- Weather irregularities can affect the growth of the plant and its flowers. An unusually warm winter or colder summer can be disastrous for your tulip’s health.
- Do not purchase tulip bulbs with white or pink fungus strains on them. It may result in deformed flowers and leaves. You need to be sure that the bulbs are fungicide treated. The most common fungal attacks come from Fusarium oxysporum and Botrytis tulipae. The most common tulip plant disease caused by fungal infections is known as “tulip fire.” The infected plant will show discolored spots.
- Also, check for spongy grey or brown spots on the bulbs before buying. Such spots are the symptoms of nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci infection. If you have purchased it without spotting it first, treat it with hot water.
I hope that you will be successful to grow beautiful tulips in your home in the coming months. Do not hesitate to ask anything and share your experience in the comments below.