Growing Bulbs Indoors

November 4, 2012 12:00 am

Do you want to have beautiful daffodils, hyacinths, and other bulbs this spring but don’t have space in your yard? Or maybe you have some pesky animals that love to dig up your bulbs all winter long? Try forcing your bulbs indoors! With this technique you can grow lovely pots of spring flowers early in the season and display them indoors or out as early as Valentines day!

Growing bulbs indoors to coax into bloom only require 12 weeks of chilling. These include crocus (especially the large-flowered types), hyacinths, and miniature hybrid daffodils. Two other small ones would be the grape hyacinth and miniature iris, but they need 16 weeks of chilling. No matter how long the chilling, allow another 3 or 4 weeks for the blooms to appear afterwards.

All you need is a cool place that you’re sure will hover around 40 degrees, such as a refrigerator or cool basement or garage; and, of course, bulbs and pots with drain holes.

Here’s how to do it:  Put a two-inch layer of potting soil in the bottom of a pot, then position the bulbs on top of the soil. Make sure their tops are a bit below the final soil line when they’re covered. Pack the bulbs in tightly—especially the tiny guys for a full gorgeous pot in the Spring. Next fill in around them with more potting soil, water well and place the pots where they can chill for the required number of weeks. By the way, you have to pot them up – naked bulbs will not grow the required roots!

At the end of ‘chilling time’, water the pots well and place them in a spot with good indirect light and temps in the low 60s for a week or so. Then, when the shoots are a few inches tall, move the pots into bright light and higher temperatures around 68 degrees until the flowers begin to open. Finally move them back into indirect light again, to keep the flowers fresh the longest possible time. If you have outdoor display space, go ahead and put your forced pots outside after the risk of a really hard freeze has passed.

It is a good idea to keep these instructions near your chilling bulbs so that you will remember what to do and when to do it. Enjoy your early blooming bulbs!