Watering requires much judgment, because if the bulbs became dry during a period of growth, for even a single hour, blindness would ensue - that is, the undeveloped flower-shoot would shrivel and die. Over-watering, again, produces a sodden condition, and if persisted in will cause decay.
It will be several weeks - in some cases it will be three months - before the bulbs are ready for bringing into light. When sturdy shoots are formed an inch or more in height, they will be satisfactorily rooted. Place the bowls near a sunny window, or. at least, in a light and airy spot, avoiding draughts. Where there is a greenhouse, place them near the glass and bring them on gradually.
After a day or two the pale shoots will be seen to develop colour (this is called chlorophyll, or plant-green, and is caused by the action of light upon the cells). The plant can now manufacture its own food properly, and send it down to the roots below. From this time onward, the bulbs must have an abundance of light and air (excluding draughts), or they will become lank and weakly.
Growth will proceed quickly, and plenty of water must be given, though, if the tips of the leaves show a tendency to turn brown, the supply should be reduced. As the shoots lengthen, turn the bowls from time to ,time, so as to prevent the plant being too much drawn in one direction.
Staking must, of course, be done when the height of the plant makes this needful. Use very thin sticks or bamboos, green for choice, and green bast. Tie the stake first, and then attach the plant loosely but firmly. The aim of staking is to let the flower look natural while giving it enough support, and the stakes should be hidden as much as possible. Neat wire supports, specially made for hyacinth bulbs, may be obtained from most dealers.
A few drops of rain-water sprinkled on the flower-truss of a hyacinth as it develops is said to improve the flower as it assumes its colouring. Much less water than before will be needed by the roots when the flower-spikes come to maturity. The less water given the longer will the plants remain in bloom, for their energies will not be exhausted by "going over" quickly in an attempt to seed.
Another pretty bowl of daffodils. If grown in this way the flowers can be brought to perfection in the dwelling-room Copyright Messrs. Carter & Co.
As the flowers of each batch of bulbs wither cut them off, but let the leaves remain until they turn brown. The feeding process mentioned above will thus continue, and the bulbs will be of some use next year, though it would be useless to plant them again in bowls. They should be put out in garden ground - this is best done before the leaves wither - to recovei and increase in bulb for next year. Roman hyacinths and freesias cannot be used again.
Among other bulbs which can be successfully grown in bowls for spring flowering are snowdrops and chionodoxas, narcissi, jonquils, hyacinths, tulips, scillas and muscari, besides the early Roman and Italian hyacinths for winter blooming.
Roman and Italian hyacinths cost from is. 6d. per dozen; single late hyacinths from is. 6d. per dozen; tulips from 8d. per dozen; narcissi from 10d. per dozen; crocuses from is. per hundred; scillas and muscari from 3s. 6d. per hundred; snowdrops and chionodoxas from 2s 9d. per hundred.
Twenty-five bulbs can be bought at the hundred rate, which rate always gives a reduction.