How to Force Fall Bulbs


Fall bulbs are typically planted in the fall and bloom in the spring. Examples include daffodils, crocuses and tulips. Forcing bulbs mimics the outdoor environment to "force" the bulbs to grow indoors, any time of the year. In fact, if you start to force bulbs in the summer, they will bloom for you in the dead of winter. Forcing fall bulbs is not the same as planting them outdoors, and you might be surprised to find that you don't have to follow all the same planting guidelines when forcing bulbs as you do when you plant them outdoors.

Step 1

Plant your bulbs in a pot that is 6 to 8 inches deep and has a least one drainage hole.

Step 2

Fill the pot with all-purpose potting soil until the soil is a couple of inches from the rim.

Step 3

Moisten the soil.

Step 4

Plant bulbs just under the surface of the soil with a little bit of the tip sticking out. You can plant several fall bulbs of any kind in one pot, if desired. Just be sure they are not touching.

Step 5

Put the pot in a cold, dark location (35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit). Generally, the refrigerator or a garage will suffice.

Step 6

Check on the pot a couple of times a week to make sure the soil has not dried out. You will see the foliage begin to grow in six to 10 weeks. After three to five months in the cold area, you should begin to see small stems (sprouts) growing out from the bulbs.

Step 7

Move the pot out of the cold area once the sprouts are 1 inch tall. Don't move to a sunny and warm location yet. Instead, move it to a cool location with filtered light while keeping the soil evenly moist.

Step 8

Move the pot to a sunny location after two weeks and continue to keep the soil moist. The bulbs should be begin to bloom in about a month.

Things You'll Need

  • Fall bulbs
  • Pot
  • All-purpose potting soil


  • Winter Blooms Beautiful
Keywords: growing bulbs indoors, growing bulbs winter, flower bulbs winter

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.