What is the difference between tender indoor bulb plants and outdoor bulb plants? The key words here are indoor and outdoor. Tender indoor bulb plants are plants that cannot be planted outdoors in areas where there’s frost or cold temperatures. These indoor bulb plants need to stay indoors all the time.
What’s surprising is that there’s quite a few tender indoor bulb plants that will give your home beautiful flowers during the winter months. If you do your homework, you can actually have a flowering plant blooming all the time. The most common of all indoor bulb plants is the Amaryllis but there are other indoor bulb plants that are worth taking the time to investigate.
Caring for indoor bulb plants is pretty much the same as caring for outdoor bulb plants. These plants will bloom and then die down indicating they need a rest period. After a few years, some of these indoor bulb plants may need to be divided. You can then create new pots and give them away as a gift to the gardener in your life.
There’s an impressive list of indoor bulb plants, however, I chose a few of the more common and real beauties to share with you. Just ask your local nursery what they have for tender indoor bulb plants and you can begin planning for an indoor flower show.
Caring For Indoor Bulb Plants
Indoor bulb plants are easy to care for. After the blooming period and the flowers and leaves die, most people throw these bulb plants away. When the leaves die off, the plant is going into its rest period. This is an unsightly stage that has to happen for the plants to bloom again. Cut back the dead leaves and put the pot out of sight but keep it indoors in a dark, dry, warm place. I keep my pots in the furnace room. We have steel shelving there and I place the pots there. Keep the pot nearly dry until you see little green shoots coming out of the soil. Water it sparingly at first, and as it continues to grow, then begin watering it regularly and you can place them back into a visible spot with indirect sunlight.
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum hybrida or Amaryllis belladonna)
The Amaryllis is the most popular among indoor bulb plants. It comes in shades of red, orange, white, purple, and pink. Amaryllis is one of the easiest indoor bulb plants to grow and just before the Holidays, you’ll find them available at just about every store you walk into. They’re about 1 ½ ft. tall and have almost leafless stalks. The blooms are usually four large flowers at the top of each stalk. They’re very attractive and make a nice gift during the Holidays.
Freesia (Freesia hybrida)
Freesia is one the prettiest and most fragrant indoor bulb plants. They grow about 1- 1½ ft. tall on thin pencil-like stalks. Freesia comes in a variety of colors, some of which are bi-colored. Look for the bi-colored ones as they’re extremely attractive. Last year, a friend told me about a local store that had these plants available. Two days later, I went to look at them and they were gone. These plants are not as available as Amaryllis, so if you see one and like it, buy it.
Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
Calla Lilies are another one of the most popular indoor bulb plants, You’ll find these beauties in a variety of colors and they’re availability is quite common. Most local shops will have these for sale. The Calla Lily comes in various sizes some of which can grow 3 ft. tall. This plant blooms in early Spring.
Zephyr Lily (Zephyranthes grandiflora, Zephyranthes candida, or Zephyranthes commersoni)
The Zephyr Lily is one of the later blooming indoor bulb plants and very attractive. It has a a small 6 inch flower stalk that blooms in early summer. The colors are a pale pink or white and the flower is star-shaped. This lily is a real beauty in the home and it’s quite a conversational piece as most people haven’t heard of an indoor lily.
African Corn Lily (Ixia hybrida)
One of the lesser know indoor bulb plants, the African Corn Lily is known for it’s bright colored flowers. It has long grass-like leaves and the stalks bear numerous dainty star-shaped flowers that appear in early summer. You may have to search a little bit to find this beauty, but you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.
The House Plant Expert by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Crockett’s Victory Garden by James Underwood Crockett