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Spring indoors ... with bulbs you want now.

Bring spring bulbs indoors and what can you expect? A vibrant range of colors, a wide choice of flower forms, and fragrance as a frequent bonus. The six kinds here have another appeal, too: sturdy, upright stems that don't require staking. That's an advantage appreciated by any gardener who's contended with floppy paper white narcissus.

The six bulbs are listed in the chart below in order of bloom. To get started, plant your choices in pots late this month or early next month. (In mild-winter climates, chill hyacinths and crocus in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting.) Plastic or wood containers are best if you get much frost, because terra cotta or clay can crack when it freezes.

Partially fill containers with potting soil, then set bulbs in place below, we recommend quantities for a 12-inch pot). Cover with more soil, burying bulbs by 1 1/2 times their height. Set pots in a cool spot outdoors, but don't let them freeze solid in cold weather; instead, move them into a garage or cool greenhouse.

Keep containers outside until you see buds, then bring them indoors to bloom (bring narcissus indoors only after buds start to show color). If flowers lean too much in one direction to face the ligh-grape hyacinth and narcissus are notorious for this-rotate pots daily to obtain a more symmetrical, upright shape.

Take containers back outside at night; the cool air will make blooms last longer. (TABULAR DATA OMITTED)
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:244
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