Forcing Bulbs

Forcing Bulbs

Begin 15-16 weeks before you expect your bulbs to bloom. To use forced bulbs as Christmas gifts, start in September.

  1. Choose a pot that is at least twice as tall as the bulbs.

  2. Mix bulb fertilizer into your potting soil.

  1. Fill the pot with a light potting soil so that when the bulb is placed on top of the soil, the growing tip reaches the top of the pot.

  2. Place the bulbs on top of the soil. They should be placed close together, but should not touch each other or the pot.

  3. Sprinkle soil around the bulbs until only the shoulders are showing.

  1. Water the soil and keep it moist.

  2. Place the pot in a cool dark place, such as a refrigerator. Most bulbs need about 12 weeks of cold storage.
    Note: No cooling is required for some bulbs such as Amaryllis.

  1. When the stems are about 2 inches tall, move the pot to a warm sunny spot to stimulate bloom.

  2. Small pots of ivy can be transplanted around the bulbs when they begin to bloom.

Use a flowerpot at least 2 inches deep and large enough to hold three to twelve bulbs. Fill the container half full of pebbles. Set the bulbs on the pebbles. Pour in more pebbles until a third of each bulb is covered. Add water until it touches the bulb and place in a cool, dark place. Continue as above.
Amaryllis Plant one bulb per pot in a good commercial potting soil allowing about an inch of space between the bulb and the pot. Leave about 1/3 of the bulb exposed. This bulb needs a well-lighted warm place in the beginning, then can be moved to a cooler, shaded interior to make the blooms last longer.
Hyacinths These bulbs can be forced in 8-10 weeks. Plant in a good commercial potting soil so that the tips are near the surface or protruding slightly. Keep them in a cool dark place until the shoots are 4-5 inches tall. After this period, provide abundant light.
Tulips Precooled early tulips can be forced into bloom by Christmas. Keep them cool for three weeks before moving to a warm, sunny place.


see also: Hyacinths the Old Fashioned Way by Carol Wallace

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