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How to Plant Bulbs in Water Containers

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017
Bulb roots are clearly visible when the plant is grown in water.

Spring flowering bulbs add color indoors in late winter. One of the simplest methods is to force the bulbs into a vase filled with water instead of soil. Special containers, called hyacinth vases, are shaped like an hourglass. The bottom portion holds water while the top supports the bulb as it grows. As the name implies, hyacinth bulbs grow well in these vases but you can also use them for crocuses or narcissus varieties.

Fill a hyacinth vase with water to the waist. The waist of the vase is where the vase narrows near the middle.

Set the flower bulb in the vase so the bottom of the bulb is just touching the top of the water. The bottom of the bulb rests just above the waist of the vase.

Place the vase in a dark 50 degree Fahrenheit room for four to eight weeks, or until the roots develop. Add more water to the vase as needed to maintain the water level.

Move the vase to a 68 to 70 F room near a brightly lit window once the roots are formed and after the stalk begins to emerge from the top of the bulb. Continue to replenish the water level as needed.

Rotate the vase every two to three days so the stalk grows straight and doesn't lean toward the light. Move the vase away from the window so it receives bright, indirect light once the flowers open, as this helps prolong bloom.


Things You Will Need

  • Hyacinth vase
  • Bulbs


  • Bulbs grown in water don't require fertilization as they can only be used once. Discard the bulbs once blooming completes.
  • If you don't have a hyacinth vase, fill a bowl with pebbles and set the bulbs on top. Add water to the bowl until the water just touches the bottoms of the bulbs.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.