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How to Plant Spring Bulbs in January

Spring bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and tulips, are typically planted in the fall and bloom in the spring. However, to enjoy bulbs during different times of year, you have to plant them indoors and force them to bloom. Spring bulbs planted indoors take about four months to flower. Therefore, any bulbs planted in January will bloom in May. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy the flowers in January, then plant the bulbs indoors in September.

Select a pot with several drainage holes. It should be at least 8 inches deep.

Fill the pot--about half way--with a soil-less potting mix, which is available at most nurseries and online.

Layer the bulbs on top of the potting mix. Place the bulbs close together, but not touching.

Cover the bulbs with more potting mix until the bottom half of the bulb is covered and water well.

Store the bulbs for 10 to 12 weeks in a location that is between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, such as a garage, attic, basement or crawl space. Alternatively, you can place the pot in an open plastic bag and put it into the refrigerator.

Check on your bulbs every week to be sure the soil has not dried out. If necessary, add enough water to moisten the soil. Bulbs stored in the refrigerator tend to dry out more quickly than bulbs stored in another cool location.

Move the bulbs to a warm location (after 10 to 12 weeks), out of direct sunlight. Wait until the bulbs sprout. Continue to keep the soil moist.

Move the sprouted bulbs to a sunny location (a south-facing window, for example). In a couple weeks, your bulbs should bloom. Again, continue to keep the soil moist.


If your outdoor soil is workable (not frozen), you can plant bulbs directly outside in January, if desired. Spring bulbs are typically planted--with the tips facing up--about 4 to 8 inches below the soil and 6 to 12 inches apart. They may not bloom the first spring, but should the second spring.


Paperwhites and amaryllis are not planted as described above. Paperwhite bulbs are grown over a bed or rocks and water that touches only the bottom of the bulbs. They also do not need cold temperatures to grow. Amaryllis bulbs are planted one per pot (with potting mix up to their neck) and need cold temperatures for only about three weeks.

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