Growing Bulbs indoors in Glass containers

Breathe a little fresh colour into your home without the mess of potting soil and dirt by planting bulbs in containers without soil. Unlike many plants that require nutrients from the soil to grow, bulbs contain all the nutrients that the plant needs to get started and bloom. Bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, amaryllis and lilies grown without soil brighten up any room and last longer than cut flowers. A clear glass vase, filled with pebbles and a little water is all you need, and it adds an attractive visual element to your home.


Things You Will Need:

Bulbs of your choice, Class container, Pebbles or marbles, Water

bulbs-2Choose bulbs carefully: Pick bulbs that are large and firm and have no soft spots. Provide chilling:  Some bulbs require pre-chilling, including tulips, crocuses, and hyacinths. This should be done even if the bulbs indicate they’ve been chilled. Place the bulbs in the refrigerator in a paper bag and store them away from fruit, such as apples, which emit ethylene gas that can rot the bulbs. Chill the bulbs for at least 4 to 6 weeks.  Place bulbs in a cool, dark area for 2 to 3 weeks. They will form a strong root structure. Hyacinths require 6 to 7 weeks. Good locations include dark, unheated spots like a basement or garage.


Fill a container two-thirds full with marbles or smooth pebbles. Any watertight container works, but for visual interest, use a glass jar or vase that allows you to see the roots growing and anchoring to the pebbles or marbles.

Place the bulbs onto the top of the anchoring material with the pointed end up.   Space  bulbs 50 – 75 mm apart in a larger container or use one bulb per 100 – 130 mm container. Add water to the container until it comes to just below the base of the bulb. Place the bulbs in an area that gets bright, indirect sunlight for at least six hours a day. Select a cool area away from cold or hot drafts.  Replenish the water as it evaporates, always filling the container to just below the base of the bulb.


Figure out bloom times. Forced bulbs generally flower from 4 to 16 weeks after planting. Daffodils bloom in 4 to 6 weeks, hyacinth in 12 to 16 weeks, amaryllis in 8 to 12 weeks, and crocus in 6 to 12 weeks.



Avoid submerging the bulb in water, as that will cause it to rot.

When you grow bulbs outdoors or indoors in potting soil, the bulb is replenished from the minerals and nutrients in the environment. These bulbs can be replanted successfully year after year. When growing bulbs without soil, they are depleted from the blooming process and should be discarded at the end of the blooming season.

Plant bulbs in autumn for winter flowers.


University of Illinois: Start a New Winter Tradition – Grow Bulbs Indoors

New Mexico State University: Plants Without Soil

University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs & More Bulbs