Easter is the perfect time to enjoy flowers, and you can force spring bulbs to bloom, indoors, by this time of the year. There is no need to wait for the tulips, daffodils or amaryllis to pop out from beneath the last hint of winter. The way to have spring flowers for Easter enjoyment is to force spring bulbs into early-season bloom. Begin this process 4 months before you want the blooms.
You can force many of the popular spring-blooming bulbs into early bloom including hyacinths, tulips, narcissus, grape hyacinths and crocuses. Select the largest-sized bulbs for best blooms.
Choose a container that has adequate drainage holes. Most containers will work well, yet clay or plastic containers work best. There are specialty containers for hyacinths and shallow pots for narcissus.
To avoid water-related diseases, use a soil mix that contains equal parts of soil, pelisse and sphagnum moss. This soil mix allows for proper drainage for the forcing bulb process. Do not use ordinary garden soil or potting mixes labeled "potting soil."
Fill the container up to three-fourths full with soil mix. Plant the bulbs closely together, unlike the spacing of bulbs in an outdoor garden. If using tulip bulbs, place the flat side toward the outside of the container. Add more soil mix around the bulbs, without covering them. Water the entire container thoroughly.
Place the container of bulbs in an unheated area such as the garage, attic or cellar, or in the refrigerator. Chill all bulbs for at least 3 months. According to Oregon State University Extension Service, the ideal temperature should be about 35 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Check periodically to ensure the soil remains moist.
After you have chilled the bulbs and they have developed a good root system, bring the container indoors. Water the bulbs and place the container in a dimly lit, cool room for 1 week or until active growth is visible. Move the container to a sunny room to entice the flowers to open. The average number of weeks it takes for the plants to bloom is 2 to 3 weeks.