Many gardeners suffer through the winter months, itching to get their hands in dirt as soon as spring arrives. Bring a touch of spring indoors during the long, cold winter by forcing a tulip bulb to bloom in a container. With minimal effort, you can have a pot full of bright, vibrant tulips blooming in a windowsill, adding a touch of springtime to the winter doldrums.
Half-fill a container with potting soil and place the tulip bulbs on top. The top of each bulb should be about even with the top of its container. Add only enough potting soil so that the top inch of the tulip bulbs protrude from the soil. The containers should be 1 inch in diameter for each tulip bulb it holds.
Water the potting soil generously around the tulip bulbs. Place a label on the side of the container with the contents and the planting date. If you are forcing other bulbs, it can be easy to lose track of what bulbs you have in different containers. Because the tulip bulbs have a lengthy chilling period, if you do not write down the planting date, you may not remember it.
Place the container in a cardboard box and seal it so the container is dark. Place the box in a spot with a constant temperature of 40 to 45 degrees F.
Keep the cardboard box in its cold place for three to four months. Open the box once per week to provide a light watering of the tulip bulbs to keep the soil moist.
Growth should appear from the bulbs after the three to four months. Place the container in a location with temperatures 50 to 60 degrees F. with a medium amount of light. A medium amount of light means no direct sunlight; however, filtered sunlight for four to five hours a day would be acceptable. Allow the container to stay in this location until the plant growth turns green.
Move the container to a location with bright sunlight and temperatures 60 to 70 degrees F. after the plant growth is green. Water the soil several times each week so that it stays evenly moist. Turn the container one-half turn every two days so that the tulips grow straight.
Watch for the tulips to blossom within one month of removing them from cold storage.