Beautiful Bulbs for Spring

purple shamrock: Flower Oxalis triangularis , Purple shamrock imageThe purple-leaf shamrock is a low-growing foliage plant for the garden that also makes an attractive indoor plant with its rich, vibrant, purple leaves.  The dark colors blend well and accent the colors of spring flowers. The touch of dark lavender among the bright yellows and whites and blues make a soft contrast in spring floral arrangements. To jumpstart the growth of the shamrock in the spring, you need to start in January. 

Fill three-quarters of the container with potting mix. Set the bulbs (as many as the container will hold) on top, then scoop in more potting mix, to about an inch from the rim. Wet the bulbs with tepid water, then don’t water again until you see growth, in about three weeks. In about eight weeks, you will see blooms. Purple shamrock will grow indoors year-round if you give it three or more hours of sunlight a day and water when it’s dry to the touch. You can replant outside after using the purple shamrock as a spring arrangement. Take the bulbs and plant  outside in April. Outside, purple shamrocks should be planted  areas that are somewhat shaded.  They need to be in the front of the bed to be seen, or they could be in a container that needs season-long color as they are low growing plants. When the weather is warm and there is adequate moisture, the shamrock blooms with small, pale pink, bell-like flowers. By fall, they will have multiplied themselves. Now, it’s time for the big decision.  They can be dug and put into a pot and play the role of an indoor plant during the winter, or it is possible to store them like other summer bulbs in a dormant state and reactivate them in the spring. Because they multiply, you are able to do both.  You can use them year round in the foyer centerpiece and also store bulbs for using in your forced bulbs arrangements for your spring tablescapes.

If the bulbs are going to be stored for the winter, dig chunks of roots and bulbs and gently remove as much soil as possible without having the chunks of tightly packed bulbs break apart. Place into a cardboard box or paper bags and bring into the house until the foliage dies down and dries up. Store the clumps of bulbs in a container like a cardboard box or paper bag and nestle them into a bed of dry sphagnum peat moss. The peat is acidic and it prevents any rots if they should start.  Cool and dark conditions keep them dormant. Please don’t allow to freeze. 

Mixed along with strong colors of greens and white, they make a beautiful contrast.

Most bulbs need a dormant period to bloom in spring.  If you didn’t think to save your bulbs and give them a rest, you still have can have forced bulbs in the spring.  Purchase your bulb plants from any garden center in early spring.  I use already growing daffodils, hyacinths and tulips. 

Forcing bulbs

 

I use a white transferware piece bowl and put a small amount of soil inside. Break the bulbs apart and gently arrange in your container. Once I have arranged my flowers, I had another thin layer of soil, just to secure them . I add reindeer moss as an added appeal. You can also use Spanish moss. Be sure not to overwater as it will rot the bulbs. Just keep the soil slightly moist.

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