A bowl of flowering bulbs can be delightful in the depths of winter and you can force them to flower as early as Christmas.
Conditions for Forcing
- Bulbs need at least 4″ of compost for root development and good drainage in the pot.
- Forced bulbs need a period in the cold at 7-9Âº Centigrade.
- Dark conditions are also best
- If there is no suitable indoor space the pots can be buried outdoors in soil that is not too wet.
Timing for Forcing
- Plant the bulbs from 1st September until December. The earlier the start the earlier the flower.
- Short cooling periods equal short stumpy flowers, too long cooling will produce excessively long flower stems.
- After cooling, bring bulbs into the warmth and they will flower in 2-3 weeks.
|Bulb||Planting Date||No Weeks Chilled|
|Hyacinth prepared||15.09 -15.12||10-12|
|Hyacinth unprepared||15.10 -01.12||11-13|
Arma, Yellow Present
Amaryllis and Paperwhite Daffodils ( Tazeta narcissi) can be put straight into a warm room and do not need the chilling process. Hyacinths can be chilled at slightly warmer temperatures than other bulbs.
Step by Step Guide
- Choose a pot that is not too small and ‘crock’Â the bottom with stones for drainage.
- Partially fill the pot with damp soil or compost and press bulbs down onto the soil.
- Keep bulbs close together but not touching.
- Place Tulips with the flat side of the bulb towards the pot edge.
- Fill the pot until the nose of the bulbs are just covered.
- Water generously to encourage rooting.
- Cool the pots as above.
- When the flower bud is visible transfer to a warm location.
- You can buy forced plants in individual pots around Christmas – January and make your own arrangement by combining several pots in a nice display.
- Plant your own bulbs in individual pots so you can combine them prior to bringing into the warmth.
- Put your plants on a porch as they flower. The cool air will help blooms last longer.
- Support tall varieties with rustic sticks. As you will probably throw the bulbs away a cane can pierce them if necessary.
Further Points and Tips
- Flower bulbs need water little and often.
- Mist flowers now and then when in bloom to protect them from drying out in centrally heated rooms.
- Plant odd numbers in a bowl as this looks more attractive
- Put names or labels on you pots so you know what you have planted.
- Put bulbs of one kind and colour together, you can combine pots later to get an arrangement Â of colours for display.
- Read about growing in pots unforced
- Try some Iris in pots and stagger the planting dates for continuity.