How to Plant Christmas Bulbs


Christmas occurs a few days after the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Most gardens are covered in snow, or at least brown and bare, and haven't seen a flower since the first hard frost. Several months remain before spring tulips, daffodils and crocuses. Get a jumpstart on spring and plant bulbs that will bloom indoors in time for Christmas. Amaryllis and narcissus are two favorites long associated with holiday time.

Amaryllis and Narcissus Bulbs

Step 1

Allow eight weeks from the time the bulb is planted until it blooms. Since no one can predict exactly how fast bulbs grow and when they will bloom, plant several pots of bulbs a week or so apart to ensure Christmas blooming.

Step 2

Place a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot to cover drainage holes. The filter allows water to escape but keeps the soil inside.

Step 3

Add 3 in. of potting soil.

Step 4

Place the narcissus bulbs in a pot and cover them completely with soil, filling to the top. Depending on the size of the narcissus, from five to seven bulbs will fit in a 6-in. pot.

Step 5

Place one amaryllis bulb in a pot and cover the bulb to the top, but don't bury it under the soil. The tip of the bulb and some of the bulb itself should be visible.

Step 6

Water well and place in bright indirect light.

Step 7

Rotate the plant every few days after the bulbs have sprouted so they don't lean to one side.

Daffodil Bulbs

Step 1

Order daffodil at the earliest possible date in the fall. Delivery would have to be by the beginning of August.

Step 2

Chill the bulbs by placing them in the crisper or lower shelves of the refrigerator. Do not freeze the bulbs. Daffodils require 10 weeks of chilling.

Step 3

Dig up daffodil bulbs from the garden by Aug. 1 if you plan to use your own bulbs rather than ordering them and then chilling as above.

Step 4

Plant the bulbs and treat them as you would narcissus bulbs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Most spring bulbs that require chilling such as tulips and crocus can't be forced to bloom at Christmas time because they require 16 weeks of chilling. About the earliest they can be ordered and delivered is late September. There isn't enough time to chill them and get them to bloom before Christmas.

Things You'll Need

  • Amaryllis bulbs
  • Narcissus
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Coffee filters
  • 6-in. diameter pots
  • Potting soil


  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden;" Courtier et al; 2003
  • "The Desert Gardener's Calendar;" George Brookbank; 1999

Who Can Help

  • Forcing narcissus
Keywords: Bulbs at Christmas time, forcing bulbs for Christmas, Amaryllis bulbs at Christmas

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for