Garden Photo of the Day

Bulbs and Houseplants Lifting the Winter Blues

Indoor blooms make it easier to get through the long Canadian winter

Today’s photos come from the indoor garden of Laura Snyder, a professional photographer who finds great pleasure in shooting at home on her four-acre property just outside of Ottawa, Ontario.

Like everyone else, I rely on bulbs and other indoor plants to keep my spirits up over the long winter months. Pictured here is a bright red anthurium, which is a great houseplant if you have a fairly high light situation for them.

African violets (Saintpaulia species and hybrids) repeatedly bloom for me, and I always have a rotation of a few in bloom on the windowsill. I think the key to getting blooms is to let them dry out between waterings. I’ve house-sat for people who keep them in a tray of water with a wick system, but I didn’t see a bloom over the entire eight-week period.

Here’s another African violet with abundant blooms. (Editor’s note: There are tons of exciting new African violet hybrids out there these days. Check out this GPOD to see some of them.)

I’m lucky enough to have been gifted a beautiful clivia (Clivia miniata, Zones 10–11 or as a houseplant) that is now coming into its second bloom in as many years. What a stunner! Last year it bloomed just in time for Easter and was appreciated by visiting family.

Pink hyacinth (Hyacinthus hybrid, Zones 3–9) in bloom.

Close-up of a purple hyacinth.

I always forget just how exquisite the fragrance of paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta, Zones 8–11 or forced indoors) and hyacinth is. These plants lift my mood whenever I come into the room. Can anyone tell me once and for all if I should replant these spent bulbs in the spring/fall or just compost them?

Hyacinths are beautiful even before the flower buds open.

The small flowered daffodil ‘Tête-à-Tête’ (Narcissus ‘Tête-à-Tête’ Zones 4–8) is popular for forcing indoors for early bloom.

Detail of a narcissus bloom.


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View Comments


  1. sandyprowse 02/04/2019

    Good question you pose: “is it possible for spent bulbs to bloom again if replanted in the spring?” Your indoor plants were inspiring on this cold dreary day in Toronto Canada. I just decided that I am going out today to purchase a few of those marvellous tiny daffodils after enjoying your beautiful photos. They cheered me up!

  2. mainer59 02/04/2019

    Compost your paperwhites. They are not a hardy bulb in cold places. One reason why we can be so successful with them indoors is that they don't need a cooling period to bloom that daffodils need.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/04/2019

    I only grow paperwhites in the yard, but I force hyacinths in the house by chilling them in a paperbag for 12 weeks in the crisper (no fruit with them). Then plant in pots with soil. Just takes about a week for the roots to grow & the hyacinth starts shooting up. I have white & dark pink in bloom right now on my dining table. I plant them outside in the spring. I have had them return for several years.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/04/2019

    Your photos are a credit to your chosen profession, Laura...all are beautiful. I'd love to see pictures of your outside garden as well.

  5. toweringpines 02/04/2019

    I buy hyacinths at grocery store in Feb and after enjoying them indoors I plant them in my garden in spring. Most have bloomed the following spring.

  6. Musette1 02/04/2019

    Stunning photos! I'm in zone 5b (which I can ooch to 6 in certain spots) - I force hyacinths indoors, then plant out in the spring - but only the bulbs I've forced in soil. Those I've done in water go into compost. Paperwhites don't overwinter here, so they are forced indoors, then into compost. Right now I have hyacinths, Ziva paperwhites and some amaryllis blooming their heads off - it's the only thing that kept me going through the recent Polar Vortex. Thanks for sharing those exquisite photos!!

  7. btucker9675 02/04/2019

    Gorgeous - the clivia photo made me jealous. I tried one years ago but no matter where I put it or how moist/dry the potting soil, it never rebloomed. The color of that purple hyacinth is mouth-watering!

  8. Sunshine111 02/04/2019

    Gorgeous photography! I really enjoyed them as I love taking pictures of my flowers also. For what it is worth, I compost my paper whites and replant my hyacinths. They May not bloom the next year, but eventually they do!

    1. Sunshine111 02/04/2019

      I force my hyacinth in water

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