How Do I Grow Bulbs in Vases?

Written by m.h. dyer Google
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How Do I Grow Bulbs in Vases?
Hyacinths can be forced to bloom early in a vase to brighten the long, late-winter days. (hyacinth image by Alison Bowden from

Although many spring-blooming bulbs can be forced to bloom early indoors in soil, paperwhite narcissus and hyacinth bulbs can be grown in a clear glass vase partially filled with water. Starting the bulbs in water gives them and you a jump start on spring and brightens up a room with colour and sweet fragrances in those long days of late winter. Start with large, smooth bulbs with no signs of cuts or bruises. Big, healthy bulbs will produce the biggest blooms, according to the Penn State Cooperative Extension website.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pebbles, stones or glass beads
  • Paperwhite bulbs
  • Glass or plastic hyacinth vase
  • Hyacinth bulbs
  • Black plastic bag (optional)

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  1. 1

    Place a 1-inch layer of pebbles, stones or glass beads on the bottom of a clear glass vase.

  2. 2

    Nestle the bottoms of the paperwhite bulbs into the pebbles, with the root end of each bulb facing down. The root end is usually the widest part of the bulb. The bulbs should not be touching.

  3. 3

    Pour water into the vase so that the level of the water is 1/2 inch below the surface of the pebble layer. The bottom of the bulbs shouldn't touch the water, or they will rot. Add a few more pebbles between the bulbs to hold the bulbs upright securely.

  4. 4

    Move the vase into a sunny, cool room where the temperature is maintained at approximately 15.6 degrees C. Replenish the water as it evaporates. The paperwhites will flower in approximately three to six weeks.


  1. 1

    Fill the bottom section of a glass or plastic, hourglass-shaped vase with water. Hyacinth vases can be purchased at garden centres.

  2. 2

    Place the bulb in the top of the vase with the wide side of it pointed down. Add additional water if necessary, to keep the level of the water just below the bottom of the bulb The roots will extend down into the water, but the bulb itself should be kept dry.

  3. 3

    Move the vase into a cool dark place. The temperature should be between 4.44 and 10.0 degrees C. Put a black plastic bag over the vase to keep light out, if necessary.

  4. 4

    Bring the hyacinth into a warm, sunny spot when the hyacinth bud extends 2 to 3 inches above the top of the bulb. This will occur approximately eight weeks after moving the bulb into the dark. After an additional four to five weeks, the hyacinth will be in full bloom.

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