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4 Simple Steps to Force Bulbs to Bloom Indoors

Published on
October 19, 2020 1:40:00 PM PDT October 19, 2020 1:40:00 PM PDTth, October 19, 2020 1:40:00 PM PDT

The cold of winter can seem to last forever. As days get shorter and nights are longer, we patiently wait for the warm temps and colors of spring. Brighten dreary winter days indoors by adding pops of color with cheery spring bulbs like hyacinths, daffodils and tulips!

Follow these simple steps to force blooms indoors, weeks before they would normally bloom outdoors.

Pick Your Pot

The size of your pot or container will depend on the number of bulbs you want to plant. A container that is at least 4” in diameter is perfect for one hyacinth bulb, choose one at least 6” in diameter for 3 or more.

Get Dirty

Start with filling your container partially with potting soil. Once the dirt is in and leveled, place the bulbs on top. Their tops should sit a little lower than the container’s rim. Add more soil but don’t completely cover them. Make sure the noses (bulb tops) stick out above the potting soil. Water thoroughly after potting.

Keep Cool 

For the bulbs to bloom they must be exposed for 12 to 16 weeks in temps between 40 to 45 degrees. Some cold storage options include, root cellar, unheated garage or refrigerator. If you are storing in a refrigerator that contains apples or other ripening fruit, cover the bulbs with a plastic bag. Ethylene gas is released as fruits ripen and can inhibit the growth and development of your bulbs. Potted bulbs should be in complete darkness and watered when the soil starts to dry out.

Time to Bloom

After 12 to 16 weeks remove the potted bulbs from cold storage. You should see yellow shoots coming from the bulbs. Keep the bulbs in an area that has low to medium light and a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees. In 4 to 5 days you should see the shoots turn green. At that time, move them to an area that is 60 to 70 degrees and brightly lit. Look for blooms 3 to 4 weeks after you have removed from cold storage. Remember to water regularly and rotate containers for straight, upright growth.

Bonus Tips:  

  • For a better end result, face the flat side of a tulip bulb towards the wall of the container. This allows a bottom leaf to drape over the edge of the container giving it a cool, contemporary look.
  • Keep the blooms going by removing the potted bulbs from the cold storage every 2 weeks. This will give you continuous blooms until spring!