Replant Your Indoor-Flowering Bulbs

Rescue seasonal bulbs destined for the trash and create a garden spotlight that will be cherished for years to come.

by Lynsey Grosfield
PHOTO: Lynsey Grosfield

Grocery stores, garden centers and florists are currently overflowing with cheerily sprouting displays of spring bulbs in anticipation of Easter and spring celebrations. Usually, these blossoms are provoked indoors weeks or even months before they would break through the soil outdoors. The usual suspects:

  • daffodils (Narcissus spp.)
  • hyacinths (Hyacinthus spp.)
  • tulips (Tulipa sp.)
  • snake’s heads (Fritillaria meleagris)
  • crocuses (Crocus spp.)
  • snowdrops (Galanthus spp.)
  • spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum)
  • squill (Scilla spp.)

Most of these bulbs can be appreciated indoors as seasonal decor, and once their blossoms have faded, they can be replanted outdoors to enjoy again next year or stored for the same purpose. Their success in over-wintering the ravages of a non-greenhouse environment can vary, but I’ve amassed a collection of spring-blooming flowers in my garden merely from planting bulbs destined for disposal after being forced to bloom early indoors.

For maximum success in replanting, first, make some decisions in the store. Avoid-wax-coated bulbs, under-watered or neglected specimens, and anything with inorganic components that are hard to remove, like glitter or paint, as these will just become litter or pollutants in your garden later. Also, try to do a bit of research beforehand to see which kinds of flowers are hardy enough to overwinter in your hardiness zone. Even if they can’t be planted outdoors where you live, they can always be over-wintered in a fridge drawer. Many are adapted to woodland or meadow habitats, so they can be planted in a cultivated garden or under a grass plane.

In any case, be on the lookout for wilting displays from friends, neighbors, or even in stores. they’re a fine source of gardening fodder in the long term.

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