How to Force Spring Bulbs Indoors


Spring bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and crocuses, can be forced indoors to grow and bloom any time of year, including winter. They will add color and beauty to an otherwise drab time of year. While some bulbs can be forced in water, such as paperwhites, most spring bulbs are forced in soil. Begin forcing bulbs about four to five months before you want them to bloom. Stagger different containers of forced bulbs by about two weeks for a longer display of flowers.

Step 1

Fill a planting pot three-quarters of the way with equal parts of potting soil, sphagnum moss and either perlite or vermiculite. Alternatively, choose a "soil-less" potting mix from a nursery or garden center.

Step 2

Lay the bulbs on top of the soil, close to one another, but not touching. The tips of the spring bulbs should be facing up. The flat side of tulip bulbs should face outward, toward the edge of the container.

Step 3

Pack more soil around the bulbs, but do not completely cover them. Leave the top half of the bulbs exposed. Then, moisten the soil slightly with water. Do not let the soil get soggy.

Step 4

Place the container in a cold area, such as a refrigerator, garage or basement. In the refrigerator, keep fruit wrapped in bags in the storage bins because they can cause the bulbs not to bloom if they are placed in the same area. Keep the soil slightly moist. While spring bulbs have different chilling requirements, most need to be chilled for about 15 weeks.

Step 5

Move the container out of the cold area and water the bulbs well. Place the container in indirect light in a cool area of your home, such as a spare room or near a door. Keep it there until green growth begins to grow from atop the bulbs.

Step 6

Relocate the container to a sunny area, such as a south-facing window and your bulbs will grow and bloom. First though, ease the bulbs to their new location by placing them in a warm area of the home that receives indirect light for a couple days and then move them to their permanent sunny location.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Perlite or vermiculite


  • University of Rhode Island: Forcing Bulbs
Keywords: force spring bulbs, force bulbs indoors, force bulbs soil

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.