Forcing Bulbs for Winter Beauty

February 12th, 2013 posted by Brenda Hyde

If you are like me and go through a little bit of a blue period in the winter when you can’t garden outside, then you may want to consider forcing bulbs. You can do this with daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops, tulips and crocus, among others. Generally 6 tulips, 3 hyacinths, 6 daffodils or 15 crocus will fit in a 6- or 7-inch pot. You can make a potting mixture of potting soil, sand and peat moss-mixed in equal amounts. To each pot add about a teaspoon of bonemeal for a boost. You can also use a plastic window box type container that is long and thin to mix the bulbs and come out with a neat display. But you may want to have several pots and displays to stagger and bring indoors for forcing at different times to stagger blooms. Plant the bulbs with the pointed side up, and don’t cover the neck of the daffodils-just the fat part of the bulb. The smaller bulbs such as crocus should be covered with just a 1/2 inch of soil. You soil should be a 1/2-1 inch away from the top of the container to allow for watering and the bulbs can be planted very close together. After planting, water well and then they need to begin their cold treatment. You will need a frost-free place such as a garage, or a cool attic or cool basement-the temperature must be about 35-55 degrees for the bulbs to grow healthy roots. The pots can be placed in plastic bags to help keep the moisture in. Do check on them during their cold period, because they shouldn’t dry out. The bulbs will need about 10-15 weeks of this treatment before you bring them indoors. Bring the pots inside-all at once or a few each week-depending on what you planted. They will need a sunny, (indirect sun) but cool spot that is about 55-70 degrees and the soil must be kept moist at all times. Your flowers will last longer in the cooler temperatures. If you plant your bulbs in October, they should be ready to force around Christmas, and all of the pots, if you are staggering blooms, should be inside before the end of February. They will bloom in about 3-4 weeks after you bring them indoors. Forcing blooms is such a wonderful way to bring a little early spring sunshine into our homes. Buy your bulbs now-it’s an added bonus that many stores are marking them down!

See more of Brenda Hyde’s articles on FamilyCorner.com

Brenda Hyde (51 Posts)


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