Cut Flowers, Potted Plants or Forced Bulbs

Snow flurries fly outside, but inside, there are new sprouts coming up from the Oxalis bulbs that I planted up on November 25th.

These first little leaves showed up while I was gone for a few days, proving once again that a watched plant rarely sprouts. Ignore it for a few days and something will happen.

So far, just two of ten Oxalis bulbs have sprouted, but I think I see a third one breaking through.

I'm confident all ten will sprout.

The Bouvardia that I bought on impulse on November 25th is still blooming.

These had just arrived at the store the day I was shopping. I caught a whiff of the sweet scented flowers, and, well, you all know how they end up in your shopping cart before you know it.

The first shoots of the narcissus bulbs, potted up on November 29th, are also starting to peak out from the brown sheaths surrounding them.
All I need now are some cut flowers, and I’ll have a little bit of everything a good indoor winter garden can offer.

Which do you prefer in the winter to bring bloom into your life when the garden is dormant? Cut flowers, blooming plants or bulbs for forcing?

Have you decided? Don't read further until you've decided on your preference because what you choose has great signficance and meaning.


Here’s the meaning of your choices, according to no one but me.

If you prefer cut flowers, you like immediate gratification but aren’t interested in a long-term commitment. However, if you tend to keep the cut flowers after they’ve dried up, you may be conflicted and really want a long-term plant relationship.

If you prefer to buy potted blooming plants, you like immediate gratification, but are willing to also invest a long-term commitment. You are optimistic that once your blooming plant becomes a foliage plant, you have the skills or maybe just the good luck needed to get it to flower again.

If you prefer bulbs for forcing, you are patient and a nurturer and are willing to wait for the gratification of a blooming plant. You are in this plant relationship for the long haul. You have confidence that if you provide the light, soil, and water, the plant will reward you with a bloom.

If you prefer all three, you are a gardener.

Which did you prefer?


  1. I like the last two, although in February, I buy cut flowers because I need them by then. February, not April, is the cruelest month in Oklahoma. I guess I love bulbs the best though, and yes, I picked before I looked at the answer key. A sweetly scented post, Carol. Glad you're back.~~Dee

  2. Carol,

    I get the cut flowers because I can put them up high away from Coal, the plant eating and vomiting cat! Immediate gratification is a plus too! I agree with Dee February is the cruelest month in Zone 7/Sunset 33 gardens!


  3. I couldn't decide. I tried to choose but couldn't, so I was happy to see the last option about choosing all three. Interesting post, thanks!

  4. Believe it or not, I love all three. For me, amaryllis are still the most magnificent of all bulbs in the winter. Absolutely, love cut flowers......especially roses, cut short, debudded and put in a clear round vase. Finally, a house plant....abutilon is one of my fave. Great post. Thanks. Fran

  5. Hi Carol,
    I really love blooming plants that will come back again over time. My problem is my cat. Last year I had some very pretty African Violets that my cat ate continuously for months on end. I did everything I could to save them but couldn't put them up high because they didn't get the right light. I ended up literally throwing them away after enjoying them all winter...and I felt sad and guilty at the time. Right now, until said cat mysteriously disappears (I don't have the heart to give him away:))...I like bouquets of cut flowers that I can put in a vase and enjoy until it's time to go out and get some more. When the cat's gone, it's back to live plants for me for sure. Jan

  6. I picked the potted bulbs. I just hate watching a plant purchased in full health decline & die. Bulbs are supposed to fade to nothing after blooming, so that works for me.

  7. I also couldn't decide so I put them in 1-2-3 order.

    1. My Christmas (Thanksgiving) cactus is blooming right now.

    2. Hyacinth and Narcissus are potted and in the cold garage waiting to be brought in when we return from vacation.

    3. I have cut flowers in my kitchen window.

    I guess that makes me a gardener! All three make me happy. Thanks.

  8. Last year I had all three. This year I still have the potted blooming plants and may try to force a few bulbs. I'll definitely be growing annuals from seed later in the winter though.

  9. What fun, according to this I'm a gardener :) All three for me!

  10. I like all three. The third is my least favorite though. I don't have lots of patience.

  11. I prefer forcing bulbs; watching dead looking lumps come to life, it seems like such a miracle. On the other hand, with the exception of my Christmas cactus and terrarium, I tend to kill most other houseplants and I don't have much interest in cut flowers unless they are from my own garden.

  12. Whew! I picked all three (though No. 2 with reservations) before I looked, so glad to know I am officially a gardener. I am trying to downsize my cut flower habit but I get frustrated come January with potted plants when I start dreaming about next year's garden outdoors.

  13. I don't like spending money on cut flowers, even though our daughter is a floral designer. I grow African violets and have lots of not currently blooming plants in the house for the winter. I don't have room to force bulbs, but maybe I'll find some room some time.

  14. Hi Carol, I love the personality analysis. I no longer buy cut flowers, but like others, the plant eating cat, Hazel is the reason. Since I have the greenhouse, live plants are what hop into the cart. The orchids of course, but I really like things that can go in the ground outside the next spring, more bang for the buck. Primroses always, haven't seen any yet but they will show up in the markets soon, and a first try, cyclamen, hoping to plant them in the ground too.

  15. I am a bulb person. Every winter, I force many amaryllis bulbs. They are so beautiful when they bloom.

  16. As the servant of several cats, two of whom are plant eaters, I have come up with a solution that works reasonably well here. I grow plants just for them. They have a bibl pan of lawn grass and parsley and chives. They still investigate all plants that come into the house and cut flowers are knocked to the floor to become a kitty exercise mat. I feel better knowing that theyare not trying to eat plants that might be harmful to them.


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