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Indoor bulbs - the cheats version
Years ago I used to buy expensive prepared hyacinth bulbs - especially treated so they didn't need a long chilling - for growing indoors.
They still needed a complicated regime of darkness and light and I was always slightly disappointed in the results.
The ones that I tried to force on old hyacinth vases - with traditional paper cones to exclude the light - were always the least successful - - growth was often a little lopsided, the blooms not properly developed, and the roots were often not enough to hold the flowers upright.
Now forced hyacinth bulbs are beginning to appear in the shops again - often far cheaper than the bulbs were back in October - and I have taken to cheating.
I buy pots of three bulbs - buds showing healthily above the leaves - and transplant them into my old hyacinth vases which line the windowsill. They look exactly as though they have been grown traditionally.
1. Choose the deepest pots of forced hyacinths that you can find and make sure there is good root growth.
2. Take the plant out of the pot and sit in a bowl of hand hot water for half an hour.
3. Carefully prise the plants apart and rinse off all soil under a tap. Don't worry if you snap some roots, as long as most remain it will be fine.
4. Fill the hyacinth vase to just below the neck with tepid water.
5. Carefully thread the clean roots into the water until the bulb sits in the neck of the vase.
6. Keep water topped up to 1 cm below the bulb and turn the vase every few days so that the hyacinth doesn't grow towards the light and topple over.