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Forcing Bulbs Indoors

Protect Your Plants During Winter: Try Forcing Bulbs to Grow Indoors

Are you searching for tips and instructions on forcing bulbs indoors? Do you want your living room and bedroom filled with lovely blossoms all winter long? If 'Yes', read to know more...
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2018
Gardening
People who love gardening, always boast about how lovely and vibrant their gardens are, with lush green grass across the lawns and gorgeous flowers blooming all year round. Now this may be true for people who live in the warmer parts of the world, but for folks who aren't so lucky, can't say the same.
Gazebo In Winter
There are few months during the winter season that their lush green gardens are left with nothing but a bed of white, glistening snow. And in these harsh, gray winter seasons, it wouldn't hurt to see some color, inside or outside the house.
If you are one of those who long to see the beautiful and fragrant flowers that blossom only during spring, make their presence felt in winters as well, this is some helpful information about growing bulbs indoors. You can grow bulbs inside your home, if you follow certain guidelines. Are you excited to learn this concept in detail? Then keep reading.
Forcing Bulbs to Grow Indoors
Planting A Hyacinth Bulbs
If you're unaware of what this process means, let's make it a bit more clearer. As the name suggests, forcing bulbs indoors means you are creating a suitable environment for the flowers to grow inside the house.
Pink Tulips
Whether you're planning on growing tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, snowdrops, muscari (grape hyacinths), chionodoxa (Glory-of-the-snow), or other types of bulbs, the basic growing steps will be somewhat the same.
Planting Bulbs in the Right Months
Bulbs and Tools
As we will be attempting to grow the bulbs outside their natural, normal growing cycle, you need to pay close attention to 'when' is the right time to plant the bulbs. Visit your local home garden center to pick up fresh and healthy bulbs for forcing.
You can even ask necessary questions about forcing specific bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, or even daffodils, indoors. This way, you will have more knowledge as to how a particular bulb is grown indoors; perhaps you require a special kit, which includes pots, bulbs, and detailed instructions.
So your next question would be, 'When should I start forcing the bulbs in order to enjoy them during the chilly months?' Now, if you want these bulbs to bloom during the month of December, then start forcing them in the beginning of August.
Houseplants In Pot
If you want the bulbs to bloom during the month of January and February, then start forcing them in the beginning of September and October, respectively. Now this calculation will vary depending on which type of bulb you are growing.
Choosing the Right Technique to Force Bulbs
It might come as a surprise, but growing bulbs indoors has more than one method. You can choose the old-fashioned method of potting the bulbs in the soil, try your hand at water forcing, or force them in pebbles and water.
Houseplants In Pot
Take a look at the 3 different techniques to grow the bulbs inside the house, months earlier than they are supposed to grow outdoors.
Soil Forcing
Bulb planter
  • This is the most common method for force bulbs to grow indoors. Use a plastic pot instead of a clay pot, as when you add water, it dries out faster than plastic pot. Plus, plastic pots weigh less and are inexpensive.
  • Add potting mix in with the bulbs. Based on the pot size, you can add 3-5 bulbs at a time. Make sure to pot them at even distance so they don't hinder each other's growth.
  • The amount of potting mix added into each pot is about ⅔ full. After you've placed the bulbs, fill the pot with more soil. The top of the bulb can remain exposed or covered.
  • For the next 2 months, we need to keep the pots buried outside in the garden. After this period, the bulbs will be ready for forcing indoors. Find an appropriate location to keep them where the temperature stays between 50ºF to 60ºF.
  • If the temperature goes higher than this, the leaves will grow too big for being indoors. After you begin to see the stalks of flowers, you can keep the bulbs in warm temperature.
Water Forcing
Fresh Tulips Flowers
  • Apart from potting bulbs in the soil, you can even force them in water. To follow this technique, you require a hyacinth glass / vase which has a wide bottom and a tapered neck.
  • Fill the glass with water till the neck, and place the bulb on it's wide opening. Here, you need to be very careful that the bulb doesn't touch the water from the bottom.
  • So make sure there is at least ⅛'' of gap between the bottom of the bulb and the water surface. Place the hyacinth glass in a cool, dark place, where it doesn't get any sunlight.
  • Let the bulb stay there for approximately 4-5 weeks. After this time has passed, you can bring the bulb inside and begin to force it furthermore. What this water forcing technique does is help develop the root of the bulb to grow properly.
Water & Pebbles Forcing
Hyacinth flowers in wooden pot
  • Finally, you can try growing bulbs indoors with the water and pebbles method. For this, make sure the glass bowl that you use has no cracks, because no water should leak out.
  • For pebbles, you can use colorful stones and gravel for decoration. The different colors of pebbles makes the plantation attractive.
  • While potting the bulbs, ensure that the bottom of the bulbs are properly secured inside the stones, as you don't want them to move about inside. Add water into the glass bowl and stop before it touches the bottom of bulbs.
  • When the roots begin to grow, they will do so inside the water. That is our goal; to grow the roots in the water but not let the bottom of the bulbs touch it.
  • For next 4-6 weeks, keep the bowl where there's no sunlight at all, preferably in the dark. After this, you can keep the bowl in warm temperature which will force the flowers to bloom.
As mentioned before, different bulbs have few special growing requirements. Which is why, it is wise to research and learn about the bulbs you wish to force in your home. When you follow the proper care and growing instructions, the chilly months will surely pass with the fragrance from these blossoms.