The first colorful blooms of spring are a refreshing sight after the long, dreary winter. Forcing spring bulbs to flower early can bring the same vivid hues into your home sooner.
Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and paperwhites are ideal for forcing. Choose bulbs that are large, firm and free of blemishes.
Bulbs may be planted in any type of container as long as it contains nutrient-rich potting soil and has proper drainage. Place the bulbs in the soil, leaving the bulbs' tips even with the container's rim. Water the bulbs until the surface is wet.
Storing the newly planted bulbs in the dark at 40 to 45 degrees F simulates winter conditions and allows for root growth and flower development. A dark cellar or refrigerator is ideal for storage.
After 12 weeks of cold storage, move the pots to a warmer area until the shoots turn green, then expose the pots to warm, bright light and water the bulbs well. Blooms should appear within three to four weeks.
According to Richard Jauron, horticulturist for the Iowa State University Extension, most forced bulbs will not rebloom when planted outdoors. Daffodils are the exception if proper care is taken to allow the spent plants to wither and dry out before replanting outdoors in the fall.
- Iowa State University: Horticultural Guide
- The Plain Dealer Newspaper: Forcing Flower Bulbs Now for Midwinter Bloom
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Vikki McMahon attended the College of New Jersey before experiencing a variety of career choices, including the pharmaceutical research field, the real estate industry, and the Insurance industry. She has been a freelance writer for 3 years and shares her enthusiasm for parenting and home and garden topics, with published articles appearing on stressfreeliving.com and thebabybin.com.