Grow flowering bulbs in a bowl


Some spring flowering bulbs will readily grow indoors in bowls without the need for soil.  It’s very easy to do and will keep kids interested for weeks as they watch them develop and eventually flower.

Materials Needed

  • water proof bowl or container

  • small pebbles

  • spring flowering bulbs

The best performing bulbs are hyacinths, daffodils and jonquils. All produce lovely flowers but hyacinths are our favourite because the bulb itself is also very colourful. Just look at the richly coloured bulbs in the picture of the flowering hyacinths!

Hyacinths in full flower in a bowl

Hyacinths in full flower in a bowl

Getting Started

1. Rinse the pebbles so they are free of dust and then fill your bowl.  Leave a 1-2cm space from the top.

2. Place bulbs into the bowl and give them a little push so they nestle into the pebbles. Position the bulbs so they are close together and your bowl is as full as possible.

3. Fill the bowl with water but stop just below the top of the pebbles. The base of the bulbs should sit above the water line to prevent rotting.

4. Place the bowl in a bright spot somewhere in the house but not in full sun.  In 1-2 weeks roots will start developing and grow into the water. Leaves will then grow followed by the flowers.

5. As the bulbs are growing be sure to top up the water from time to time.  If the leaves start bending in one direction (towards a light source) regularly rotate the bowl to keep leaves straight.

Bulb project materials

Bulb project materials

6. When the flowering has finished you can throw away the bulbs.  This growing method exhausts all the bulb’s energy and they won’t flower next year for you.  If you hate the thought of throwing them away then plant them into a garden bed and they may bounce back after a couple of years.

Note:  Hyacinth and daffodil bulbs will benefit from a period of chilling in the refrigerator before you start this project.  Chilling involves placing bulbs in a paper bag in the crisper section for 4-6 weeks.  You don’t have to do this but this step helps the bulbs all flower at the same time and with straighter flower spikes.

Jonquil bulbs set up and ready to grow

Jonquil bulbs set up and ready to grow

Hyacinth bulbs shooting

Hyacinth bulbs shooting

Single flowering hyacinth in champagne glass

Jonquil bulbs growing

Paperwhite jonquils are very fragrant