How to Grow Tulip Bulbs Indoors


Growing tulip bulbs indoors is called forcing. Bulbs will bloom in containers when properly prepared, bringing fresh beauty indoors before the outdoors is painted in spring.

Step 1

Cover the bottom of the pot with about an inch of gravel to ensure drainage. Do not clog the drainage hole with gravel pieces. Containers should be at least two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall.

Step 2

Fill the container half full with potting mix. Bulbs should be planted closely together for the best overall look when fully grown. Plant with the pointed end up and the flat, rooted end down. Cover the bulbs with soil so that just the tip of the pointed end is exposed.

Step 3

Store the container in consistent 35 to 45 degree temperature. Do not allow the soil to dry out, but do not soak the pot as you may encourage bulb rot. Lightly water if needed.

Step 4

Chill tulip bulbs for 10 to 16 weeks, at which time short greenish white shoots will be visible from the bulb tops. Move the pot to a room with an even 60 degree temperature for about a week. Once the shoots are a strong green and growing, move to a sunny location, taking care not to expose the new shoots to very hot, direct sun. Water often as buds form. Flowering should occur two to three weeks after the chilling period.

Step 5

Discard bulbs that have been forced once the bloom is spent, as forcing requires so much energy, the bulb will not be able to produce satisfactory flowers again.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots with drainage holes
  • Potting mix
  • Gravel
  • Trowel


  • Martha Stewart, Forcing Bulbs
  • Better Homes and Gardens, Forcing Spring Bulbs
Keywords: growing tulips indoors, indoor tulip bulbs, forcing indoor bulbs

About this Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.