A bunch of plant bulbs.

What You Need to Know About Bulbs

It is normal to associate bulbs with gardens in springtime, but there are a number of varieties that will grow well indoors, giving color and scent throughout the year. For best results, use bulbs packed and marked as “indoor” varieties, or in the case of hyacinths, labeled “prepared.”

It is tradi­tional to grow bulbs in bowls of fibrous potting soil, but many will grow happily in glass containers, in water or water-retaining gels. Apart from hippeastrum and lilies, which can be brought indoors again in subsequent years, bulbs are best planted outside after flowering. The word “bulb” often refers to the food-storage organ of plants with a definite dormant season, but these are more accurately divided into bulbs and corms.

True bulbs, such as daffodils, are complete plants, with roots emerging from the “basal plate” (a modified stem), above which is a modified bud, containing the leaves and embryonic flower. Corms, such as crocuses, are solid stems from which buds containing the leaves and flowers emerge. Unlike bulbs, corms do not flower a second time, but produce new corms from lateral buds.