Growing Bulbs Indoors? Here’s What You Need to Know

Care and feeding of winter bulbs

Fine Gardening - Issue 197
growing bulbs indoors
Photo: Clicspics/

Here’s the lowdown for keeping your winter bulbs thriving and pumping out the perks in midwinter.


As much sun as you can muster is optimal. An unobstructed southfacing window is ideal, but a bright east- or west-facing window will do the trick.


A well-drained fertile soil is imperative. A cactus-and-succulent soil is ideal. Select a soil with perlite rather than vermiculite to increase drainage.


In general, most bulbs prefer a shallow container that is not too generous. Clay containers are preferred over plastic or metal.


Serve drinks when the soil is slightly dry to the touch. This will vary according to the weather even when you’re growing indoors. Bulbs do not like to be very dry.


If your soil is sufficiently rich, no fertilizer is needed.


Remove yellowing and dead leaves. Deadhead spent flowers.


With the exceptions of purple shamrock and dappled snowbrush, which are evergreen, most winter bulbs go dormant—usually in April or May. Stop watering, and store the bulbs in a location where they will remain dry throughout summer. The exception is amaryllis, which usually grows and requires watering until mid-to-late summer.

Annual Reboot

Divide and repot winter bulbs into fresh soil in August before active growth begins.

—Tovah Martin is the author of several books on houseplants, including The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Choices for Every Spot in Your Home.

To learn more about winter bulbs, check out Winter Bulbs Will Get You Through

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  1. gertrudewelch182 12/19/2020

    thanks for the tips. I got this flower for my b-day a few days ago so your article is really useful for me

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