Grape Hyacinth Bulbs - How To Plant As Indoor Plant. - Knowledgebase Question

New York, NY
Question by shastajensen
October 14, 1999
I got my Muscari Armeniacum bulbs today and I'm not quite sure how to treat them. I live in an apartment in NY and I wanted them to grow in the house (I don't have a garden). What do I do? Do I "force" them? I don't really have a cold dark place, except for the fridge.
Could someone send me instructions on how to plant them?

Answer from NGA
October 14, 1999


These bulbs require a cold period in order to bloom, so you will have to try to cool them unless you bought prechilled bulbs. Refrigerator temperature is ideal, but they need to be potted prior to being placed in the cold and will take up a lot of room. You also need to store them separately from fruit such as apples which give off a gas that destroys the flower buds. Finally, you need to set the temperature at 42 to 48 degrees for the first six weeks and then down to 35 to 41 degrees for the next six weeks and make sure they do not dry out -- in all honesty it is easier if you can farm them out to a friend who can set them outside in a sheltered spot for you such as in a picnic cooler on the balcony or inside an unheated garage.

To plant, use a shallow pan such as a bulb pan (this is shallow and wide) and plant the bulbs very close together; cover with soil so their tips barely show. Chill for at least ten weeks, then bring out into a warmer and very bright location. Keep the soil barely moist but not soggy and enjoy the show!

If all this seems like a lot of work, you might try the paperwhites narcissus bulbs which need no chilling.

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