Forcing Flower Bulbs


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Flower bulbs bring color not only into your garden but also into your living room.  There's more than one way to get flower bulbs to bloom. Try the home forcing method in which you provide the flower bulbs with a chilling treatment yourself.  This way, you can have your first harbingers of spring in your home as early as Christmas.

Bulbs for flowering early, indoors, can be planted in an almost endless range of pots- ceramic, terracotta or plastic pots -  even glass jars.  What's more important than the type of the pot is the amount of room that's available in which the flower bulb's roots are to develop.  Most bulbs need at least 4 inches of depth.  It's also important to make sure that your container allows good drainage for excess water, such as plenty of drainage holes or large stones at the bottom of the container.  Potting soil is perfect as a growing medium.  For good results, it is absolutely necessary that the bulbs spend the indicated period in a cold room that is approximately 48 degrees F.  Although not absolutely necessary, it would be preferable to have the room dark. If such a room is unavailable, the pots can also be dug into the soil in the garden - provided that the soil there is not too wet! 

Find information below on chilling and bloom times for our 7 top bulbs to force. 

Hyacinths:
12-15 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Tulips:
10-16 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Daffodils:
12-15 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Crocus:
8-15 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Grape Hyacinths (Muscari):
8-15 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Iris reticulata:
13-15 weeks of chilling 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Snowdrop (Galanthus):
15 weeks of chilling 2 weeks to bloom after chilling process has begun.

Planting time starts in early September and last until December 1st.  The earlier the bulbs are planted, the earlier they will come into flower.  If their cooling period is not long enough, the flower stems will be too short. Too long of a cooling period will result in excessively tall flower stems.  After the cooling period, the bulbs should be brought into a warm room.  Once this has been done, it will be another two or three weeks before the plants will be in full bloom. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) and Paperwhites (Tazetta narcissi), however, can be placed into a warm room immediately after purchase.  These bulbs require no chilling.