How to Plant Forced Bulbs


Planting forced bulbs presents a challenge for gardeners. The process of forcing a flower bulb takes the plant out of its natural cycle of growth and blooming to produce a flower. Forcing compresses the time frame of cooling that allows the plant to regenerate when normally planted in the garden. This stunted period of sleep and rapid blooming period takes major energy from the bulb. You'll need plenty of patience to plant a forced bulb. Most require at least 1 to 2 seasons before producing blooms, if at all.

Step 1

Place the pot of blooming forced bobs in natural light but not in direct sun to prolong the length of the blooms. Choose a cool area ranging in temperature from 60 to 65 degrees F.

Step 2

Keep the soil inside the plant pot moist while the flowers bloom. Push your finger 1-inch into the soil to test moisture levels. Water if the soil feels even slightly dry.

Step 3

Retain the foliage after blooms by continuing to water the bulb foliage regularly. Remove the blooms off the plant using sharp scissors to prevent the plant from forming seeds. The key lies in keeping the plant actively growing as long as possible to mimic natural growth patterns in the garden.

Step 4

Add water-soluble fertilizer based on package directions to help keep leaves healthy and strong. The leaves may start to yellow and die as the plant moves through the growth cycle.

Step 5

Allow the plant to die back naturally until all leaves appear dead and gradually reduce watering. Remember that a bulb is still tucked under the soil of the plant and it is still alive.

Step 6

Move the entire pot to a cool, dry location such as a garage or basement. This marks the beginning of the plant's dormant real dormant period. You can also plant the bulbs into the soil in the spring after the last frost.

Step 7

Dig a hole about 6 inches deep and stir up the soil around the planting area. Add a few cups of peat moss and work this into the soil with the trowel. Peat adds organic nutrients to the soil and improves drainage.

Step 8

Place the bulb nose facing upward about 4 to 6 inches beneath the soil surface. Each bulb requires a different planting depth so check the listing in Resources for exact measurements.

Step 9

Fill in around the bulb with loose soil and firm gently with your hands. Water deeply using a soaker hose so moisture reaches as deep as the planted bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Trowel
  • Peat moss
  • Bulbs


  • University of Vermont Extension
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Rhode Island

Who Can Help

  • Bulb Planting Depths
Keywords: planting forced bulbs, forced bulbs, bulbs

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.