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How to Plant Tulip Bulbs in a Vase Indoors

By Casey Kennedy ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grow tulips indoors for a touch of color during the long days of winter.

Tulips are bulbous plants enjoyed for their variety of colors and low maintenance. Although typically thought of as an outdoor spring flower, tulips can also be grown indoors by a process called “forcing.” Forcing causes the bulbs to flower outside of their normal blooming season. Forcing bulbs to grow in a vase indoors provides a touch of color during the long days of winter.

Pot tulip bulbs in October for flowers that will bloom during the winter months. Use only one variety of tulip bulbs per vase to ensure that all plants bloom at the same time.

Choose a vase large enough to accommodate the tulip bulbs. Six tulip bulbs can typically be grown in a 6-inch-wide vase without overcrowding.

Fill the vase with potting soil. Place the bulbs close together on top of the soil, with ¼-inch of space left at the top to allow for watering. Plant the bulbs with the “nose” of each bulb facing upwards. Cover each bulb with soil, but leave the nose free of dirt and uncovered.

Water the bulbs as soon as they are planted. Water regularly as they grow. Do not let the soil dry out.

Cover the vase with a plastic grocery bag that has a few holes punched in it. Place the covered vase into the refrigerator. Tulip bulbs must have 12 to 13 weeks of cold temperatures before they will bloom.

Remove the vase from refrigerator three to four weeks before you want the bulbs to bloom. Place the vase in a location where the temperature will stay between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit until they begin to grow. The vase may then be moved to a sunny location that is out of direct sunlight. Continue to water as tulips grow.


Things You Will Need

  • Vase
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic grocery bag


  • Tulip bulbs may be stored in any location where the temperature remains at a constant 35 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 13 weeks. They should not, however, be allowed to freeze.

About the Author


Based in Atlanta, Casey Kennedy has been writing online content since 2009. She specializes in writing about small business, careers, real estate, and ecommerce. She also enjoys writing about a variety of other subjects, including home improvement, gardening, and pet care. She attended the Academy of Art online, studying interior architecture and design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.