indoors at home
It is possible to grow your own potted bulbs at home from scratch. The
process is not all that complicated... it just requires an investment in
Step one... is to visit your local Garden Center to purchase
You'll need to pickup the following items;
- Bulbs that are suitable for forcing.
- Containers - wide, shallow pots know as Bulb pans or Azalea pots,
either decorated or plain plastic pots.
- Potting soil - purchase either pre-made bulb mix, or make your own
mixing equal parts peat moss, potting soil and sand.
- Fertilizer - 1 teaspoon of 5-10-5 dry fertilizer to each quart of soil
Remember to count backwards in time to estimate when you want your bulbs
to flower. Count back 12 - 14 weeks for Crocus and Daffodils and 16 - 18
weeks or Hyacinths and Tulips. Example: to flower in January, plant in
September... to flower in February, plant in October.
Step two... is potting your bulbs
- If you plan on growing your bulbs in clay pots, place clay chips or
stones over the drain holes. If you use plastic containers with small
drain holes you do not need to cover the drain holes.
- Fill your container about half full with your potting soil.
- Plant your bulbs with the pointed ends up. You may place as many bulbs
in the container as will fit. Bulbs with flat sides should be planted
with the flat side facing the outside of the container. This will form a
ring of foliage around the outside of the container.
- Finish filling the container with potting soil.
- Now it is time to thoroughly water the pot from the top until plenty of
water runs from the drain holes... this will settle the soil.
- If you plant several pots, label each container with a date and the
type of bulb.
Step three... the chilling and rooting period
- Place your bulbs in a cool dark place such as a unheated
garage, old refrigerator, or any place that will remain 35 to 48
degrees during the cooling period.
- Chill Crocus and Daffodils for 12 weeks.
- Chill Hyacinths and Tulips for 16 weeks.
- Keep the soil moist during the chilling period.
- A general rule of thumb - When you see roots
in the drain holes
or new shoots about 2" tall emerging from the soil... it is time to
move your plants to a warmer area.
Step four... growing
- Move your plants to a well lit area where temperatures are in the
50's. Do not allow the bulbs to dry out!
- Feed the plants weekly with half strength house plant food.
- If your lighting comes from one side of the room... turn your plants
daily to keep the stems growing straight.
- Once your plants have grown foliage and are starting to set bud
it is time to move your plants again.
Step five... enjoy
- Move your plants to a sunny window with normal house temperatures of
65 to 70 degrees.
- When the flowers start to open, move your plant from the sunny window
to any well lit area that you wish to display your plant.
Step six... discard or dry storage?
Here's where the controversy plays in. Some say that forced bulbs will
never grow properly again... others say that after a few years of living
outdoors, your bulbs will return to their natural schedule.
It may be worth the try... to plant your bulbs outdoors?
When your plant has finished flowering cut back the flower stalks and
place your plant in full sunlight again. Keep caring for the plant as you
would any plant. The foliage will slowly die off. Don't remove any foliage
until its all dead. Then move your pots to a cool dry place and store them
until early fall when you can plant them outdoors.