How to Force Bulbs, Forcing Bulbs Indoors
Forcing bulbs to bloom indoors, is one of the more enjoyable indoor gardening
projects. Your mission, is to convince a spring bulb that it has slept through
the winter months, and it is time to awaken into full bloom. You are doing
this, even as the snow is piling up outside your window. Your reward is a
colorful bloom and scent, during an otherwise grey and drab day. What better
way to beat the winter doldrums!?!
Forcing bulbs indoors, is not difficult. It just takes time, patience and
a little advance planning. Sure, you can buy potted bulbs already forced
and ready to grow. But why do that? You are a gardener. Why let someone else
have all the fun!?!
How to Force Bulbs Indoors:
Select the bulbs you are going to force. Use you artistic skills, to mix
and match the right blooms and colors, with the right pot.
Use a good potting soil that drains well.
Tip: Make up several pots to produce a continuous bloom, over the
After making the pots, water thoroughly until water emerges from the holes
at the bottom of the pots. Let excess water drain out.
Most bulbs require a "chilling period". Chilling time is when the bulb
you are forcing is dormant in a cool environment, simulating it's natural
underground winter home in cold soil. Most bulbs need this chilling period
to force them to bloom. A couple exceptions to the rule are Paperwhites and
Amaryllis. They do not require a period of chilling.
Chill bulbs, by potting them up and placing the pots in a cool location.
The ideal temperature for chilling is 40 degrees, keeping them as close to
this temperature as possible. Do not let the bulbs freeze.
Tip: You can chill bulbs before potting.
Check on the pots from time to time. Make sure that the soil has not dried
out. It should be slightly moist, but not wet. Add a little water, only if
needed. During this period, your dormant bulbs are not quite dormant. They
are quietly building their root system, so they are ready to explode out
of the ground when you bring them indoors and warm them up.
Important Tip: While you can chill bulbs in a refrigerator, they interact
with many fruits in your refrigerator, and may fail to bloom.
After the minimum chilling period has been reached, bring your pots in. Place
them in a warm, sunny window. Warmth is your bulbs' signal to awaken. As
soon as they emerge from the ground, they need light to grow and bloom.
Right about now you are probably wondering about how long a particular bulb
needs to be chilled and how long the growing period is to reach the blooming
stage. Well, you guessed the answer.... it depends. It depends upon the
particular bulb. In general, a bulb needs 6-12 weeks to "Chill", prior to
forcing them. (See chat above).
Tip: To extend the blooms, move the pots to a cool location at night
and while you are out of the house.