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Yes, you can find amaryllis bulbs at big box stores, a home goods retailers, and even at the hardware store. However, given that these are live, perishable products, don't you want to start by stacking the odds in you own favor? Well, of course.
To hold well , and not dry up, rot or sprout prematurely, bulbs need to be kept in temperature and humidity controlled settings. The counter in your local Ace hardware store isn't ideal. Paperwhite bulbs come in many sizes and the ones you choose will determine how many flowers your bulbs can produce. It’s actually pretty straight forward: bigger bulbs sprout more flower stems, with each stem delivering more flowers.
To save money, many suppliers buy the grower’s smallest bulbs –12cm in circumference – and hope you won’t know that these are runts. Big box stores often try to focus your attention on the number of bulbs in a bag so you fail to catch the size.
Don’t be fooled.
Here is a comparison of 14 and 17cm bulbs. Big difference! -> (For holiday 2017 we also have 19+cm giants; rare and we're thrilled to offer them!)
When paperwhite bulbs are forced indoor, the flower show is a one time event. Make it noteworthy with big bulbs and lots of flowers.
Bulbs forced indoors on a windowsill draw from the resources inside the bulb. These bulbs can be grown in pebbles, which offer no nutrients, because the plant relies on the energy stored inside the bulb. Bigger bulbs have more stored energy. More energy translates into multiple flowers stalks and more blooms per stalk. That's why you may have heard that bigger bulbs are better.
Yes! Paperwhites are often forced indoors in watertight containers with stones, pebbles, marbles or clay balls. If you pickle the water it reduces the plant height without impacting the flowers. Shorter plants are much less likely to flop over. Here’s how to keep your paperwhites about two thirds their typical height: How to Grow Flop-Free Paperwhites
One last tip . . .
To gather helpful information about the experiences of others, try Googling “(company name) reviews”. Be cautious about using just the Google Ratings (stars) that are displayed on ads. These mostly rate speed of delivery, which is important, but far from the whole story with plants.
For gardening companies, there’s another source of information: Garden Watchdog. This is an easy way to discover that there are some companies (often heavy advertisers) that you may not want to do business with. Check Garden Watchdog for lots customer comments and reviews, along with other useful information.
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