How Do I Get Daffodil Bulbs to Bloom Indoors?

How do I get daffodil bulbs to bloom indoors???


Yellow daffodil Plant
Yellow Daffodil Plant

I want to start by clearing up a little confusion about some plant names. Daffodil is the common name for all of the plants in the narcissus genus. So, if a plant is called a narcissus on the bulb package, it is also considered a daffodil. Most of us say “daffodil” when talking about the large, trumpet-shaped flowers on a narcissus.

Growing flowering bulb plants indoors is known as forcing bulbs. When you force daffodils, most varieties require that you try to replicate the conditions of the cold season they experience when planted outdoors. This adds an additional 12 weeks to their growing time; that’s why I recommend the paperwhite variety of daffodils which can be forced to bloom without the “cold treatment.” You can grow the paperwhite variety by simply planting the bulbs in an indoor pot and waiting 4 to 6 weeks. Since they grow so quickly, this is a great project to do with your children or in a classroom if you’re a teacher.

Planting in water: All you need is: a 6″-8″ glass jar or vase (when I do this for schools, I use clear, sturdy, see through plastic cups), small, smooth rocks (you can buy packages of these at garden centers), and narcissus paperwhite bulbs. Fill the bottom of your plant container with a few inches of the small rocks.Place your bulbs on top of the stones and move them around until the very bottom, where the roots are, are secure in the stones. If using several bulbs, be sure they are sitting at the same level on top of the stones so that only the roots, not the bulbs will be sitting in water. Add enough water so that the roots, which are just dry looking strings at this point, will be in the water. If the rest of the bulb sits in the water, it will rot. Place the container in a spot that gets bright indirect light, keep the water covering the roots, and watch your daffodils grow!

Planting in soil:  Fill a small pot with drip holes in the bottom with rich potting soil. Put enough soil into the container so that the top 1/3 of the bulb will be visible above the top of the pot once it has been planted. Place the bulbs in the soil. I usually plant 2 or 3 in a pot, close together. All of the bulb, except the top 1/3, should be buried in the soil. Water well until the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. It is not necessary to fertilize. Keepthe soil barely moist but not soggy.

All narcissus and daffodils (as well as tulips) contain toxic alkaloids that may cause dizziness, abdominal pain and upset, and occasionally convulsions if eaten. Learn more about poisonous houseplants in Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants