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Bulb Glasses

Hyacinth are some of the most popular bulbs to force in bulb glasses.

Bulb glasses on a windowsill (Kevin Lee Jacobs,

In the middle of winter there is something magical about forcing a spring bulb into flower. It provides a foretaste of spring no matter how cold it is outdoors.

You may own what is known as a bulb glass. It is a vase with a nipped-in waist that allows a bulb to sit just above the water and reach down into the water with its roots.

Traditionally, hyacinth bulbs are the most popular to force in bulb glasses, as the width of the bulb fits the width of the vase and sits on the narrow midsection. Sometimes kits for forcing are available in the floral department of grocery stores at this time of the year. A box may include a glass container, a bulb, and directions.

Since bulbs do not need heat other than the warmth of a house, one can just fill the glass with water, place the bulb so it sits on the nipped-in section of the glass, and then set the vase on a windowsill or close enough to a window so the bulb gets bright light.

Turn the glass each day to avoid the bulb sending up a shoot that leans toward the light. Watch as tiny white roots emerge from the base of the bulb and stretch towards the water. (A few pieces of charcoal in the water keeps it sweet, but they are not essential.)

Before long, you will have a flower!

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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