How to Force Grow Bulbs


Forcing flower bulbs--growing them indoors during the fall and winter months--is a way of enjoying the bright blooms that usually flower outdoors in the spring and summer. The bulb's energy supply is depleted through this process. Many times, they will not bloom again. Tulips, amaryllis, crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, paper whites and lilies, among others, can be used for forcing. .

Step 1

Choose a container, made of any material, with drainage holes at the bottom. The height of the pot must be at least twice as tall as the bulbs.

Step 2

Fill the bottom of the container with a layer of marbles, stones or broken pottery pieces. This will help with proper drainage and will ensure the soil doesn't wash out the holes.

Step 3

Pour potting soil over the drainage material. Place a bulb on top of the soil to make sure the tip is 1 inch from the rim of the container. Add or remove soil as needed.

Step 4

Place the flower bulbs into the pot. Make sure the flat side of the bulb is on the soil and the pointed side is facing up. The bulbs should be spaced about ¼ inch apart.

Step 5

Pour potting soil around all of the bulbs, leaving 1 inch clear at the top of the pot. Press gently on the soil to make sure any air bubbles are taken out.

Step 6

Water the soil until water drips out of the container's drainage holes.

Step 7

Place the pot in a cool, dark location for about 12 weeks, 40 to 48 degrees F. Most of these bulbs require a chilling period to make them bloom, but don't let the bulbs freeze.

Step 8

Place the container in a cool location indoors after the 12 weeks has passed. You must acclimate the plant to the normal house temperature slowly. Each day move it to a warmer area, until it is positioned where you want it for the duration of blooming.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting containers
  • Stones
  • Potting soil
  • Plant bulbs


  • Iowa State University Horticultural Guide: Forcing Flower Bulbs
  • The Garden Helper: How to Force Bulbs
  • Perdue University Extension: Forcing Bulbs for Indoor Bloom
Keywords: forcing flower bulbs, indoor bulbs, potted bulbs

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.