Growing Tulips Indoors


Flowering tulips are one of the most beautiful sights in springtime. No matter what climate you live in you can grow a colorful pot of blooming tulips indoors. Tulips can be "forced" to flower if they are planted in pots and given an artificially-cold winter in your refrigerator while their roots grow. Select your favorite colors and shapes of tulips from bulb catalogs or at your local garden center. Find pots that are deep enough to hold the tulip bulbs plus four inches for potting soil and watering space. The tulips will reward you with a dramatic show.

Planting the Tulip Bulbs

Step 1

Place 2 inches of soil in the bottom of a pot.

Step 2

Rest a tulip bulb in the soil, pointed-end up, with the flat side of the bulb facing the inside of the pot. This ensures that the tulip leaves will arch out over the edge of the pot.

Step 3

Pack the tulip bulbs close together in the pot for an optimal display.

Step 4

Add potting soil above the bulbs, filling to within 1-inch of room below the rim of the pot.

Step 5

Water the pot thoroughly.

Chilling the Potted Tulip Bulbs

Step 1

Chill the potted tulip bulbs in the vegetable section of your refrigerator for 14 to 20 weeks.

Step 2

Bring the pot into a cool room, about 60 degrees, and place it in indirect light for two weeks.

Step 3

Water the pot thoroughly and continue to keep the soil moist.

Warming the Bulbs for Blooming

Step 1

Take the pot to a sunny, warm location when the green tips of the tulips are four to 6 inches tall. The sun and warmth will accelerate the tulip growth.

Step 2

Move the pot to an area with indirect light when you first see color in the tulip buds. This will prolong the life of the blooms. Keep the tulip pot out of indirect light when the flowers are blooming.

Step 3

Cut the stem of the tulip off at the base after the flower fades.

Step 4

Continue to water the pot as long as the leaves are green.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tulips can only be forced to bloom indoors once. If you have the proper climate for growing tulips outdoors you can re-plant the forced bulbs in your garden in the fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean plastic or ceramic planting pots
  • Potting soil
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Refrigerator space for the filled pots


  • "Sunset" magazine; The gentle art of forcing bulbs; Jim McCausland; October 2000
  • The Washington; Gardening advice: Daffodils and Sterilizing Potting Soil

Who Can Help

  • International Bulb Society
Keywords: tulips refrigerator, forcing tulips, chilling tulips

About this Author

Daffodil Planter's writing appears in the Chicago Sun-Times, and she is the Sacramento Gardening Scene Examiner for A member of the Garden Writers Association, she has a bachelor's degree from Stanford, a law degree from the University of Virginia and studies horticulture at Sierra College.