Bulb flowers can grow without soil, because the bulb provides many of the necessary nutrients. The most important question to answer before you start is what kind of flower you’ll grow. Paper white narcissus are the easiest, but some people dislike the smell of the flowers. Amaryllis also doesn’t need to be chilled. Other bulbs will need a chilling period, such as hyacinth, daffodils and tulips. Those bulbs you’ll need to store in the freezer for 16–18 weeks before you can force them.
Once you have your bulb, here’s how to make it grow.
What you’ll need:
• 1 or more bulbs
• Pebbles or marbles
• Glass jar or vase (you could even try an empty Mason jar or spaghetti sauce jar)
• Optional: vodka
What you’ll do:
1. Place the pebbles in your jar in a layer 1–3” deep, and the bulb on top of the pebbles, with the root end down.
2. Fill the jar with water until it just touches the bottom of the bulbs. Set the jar in a cool, dark area and watch the water level. Replenish as necessary so the level doesn’t dip down.
3. Once the bulbs start to sprout (7–10 days), move the jar to a sunny spot inside. Rotate the jar every 1-2 days to keep the shoots from leaning too far toward the sun, which can cause the whole bulb to tip over.
4. Optional: To keep the stems from growing too tall and flopping over, continue to water with a 1:1 ratio of water to vodka, once the shoots are well established.