Hyacinths may be planted in pots from the first of October to the first of November. The soil used, should consist of one-third each, of white or river sand, vegetable mould, and rich loam. The pots should measure about six inches across the top. When the bulbs are planted, the pots are to be lightly filled with earth; the bulb may be placed in the centre, and pressed into the earth, so that it may be about half covered. After this the earth should be made solid all around the sides of the pot, to secure the bulb in place. When the bulbs are thus potted, they should be removed into a cool place, in order that they may become well rooted before the tops shoot up. Much light is not necessary at this period; indeed, the deprivation of light causes them to root more quickly, than they would otherwise do. For the first two or three weeks after potting, they may be placed in a shed or a cellar, or in any other convenient place, provided it be cool. Little water is also required; once watering, immediately after they are planted, being sufficient, if the situation is tolerably damp where the pots are placed.
If the stock of bulbs, such as Hyacinths, early Tulips, Narcissus, etc., be large enough to occupy a small frame, the pots may be put within it after planting, and they may be covered a few inches deep with rotten tan, or any other light material. The pots will soon become filled with roots, and the shoots produced by bulbs previously well rooted will be stronger, and the flowers larger, than if they had been put in a warm and light situation.
When they are rooted, a few may be introduced occasionally into the room or window, or on the mantle-piece, if there be sufficient light. Light is quite essential when the tops begin to grow. By this means a succession of flowers may be had during the greater part of the spring.
If it is wished to bloom Hyacinths in water-glasses, the glass should be filled up with water, but not so high as to come in contact with the bulb. Too much moisture before the roots protrude might cause the bulb to decay. The glasses may be put in a light, but cool situation, until the roots are grown half the length of the glass, at least. The longer the roots are before being forced into flower, the finer the flowers will be; and when rooted they may be kept warm or cool, as flowers are required in succession. The flowers will not put forth, even when the glasses are filled with roots, if they are kept in a cold place. The water should be changed about twice every week, and rain or river water is better than spring water. Although the practice of growing bulbous roots in water is common, it is by no means preferable to growing them in earth. There are many failures when bulbs are grown in water, which are chiefly caused from their being more liable to rot before they begin to emit roots, than when grown in soil. Keeping the bulbs quite clear of the water is a partial, but only a partial, preventive. Another cause is, that when the roots have attained some length, they frequently decay, and the loss of the flowers is the consequence. Should success attend the growing and blooming of the greater part of those placed in water-glasses, the bulbs will be good for nothing afterwards; but those grown in pots might be planted the year following in the garden, and they would make pretty border flowers for several years.
Similar treatment to that now described is required for the large-rooted Narcissus, whether in pots or glasses.
To force early Tulips in pots, they should be placed about three or four in each pot, just within the earth, which may be of the same sort, and the management the same as recommended for Hyacinths and Narcissuses.
Crocuses 'will force well. They should be planted near together, say from ten to twenty in a pot, according to its size. Let them root naturally after planting, before they are forced into flower. They require similar treatment to the preceding.
In order that the bulbous roots, which have been forced, shall not be quite exhausted, they may be planted in the garden, with the ball of earth entire, as soon as the flowering is over, if the weather is favorable. They will thus mature their roots and leaves, and be strengthened sufficiently to bloom again the following season. If bulbs are neglected when their flowering season is over, they will not recover such neglect for a considerable time; but if carefully placed in the garden till their leaves become yellow, when the root will be matured, they may then be taken up and kept in a dry, cool place, until they are wanted the following season for planting.