The Q&A Archives: Starting Bulbs

Question: I am in South Bend Indiana. I was wondering if it was too late for me to plant my bulbs. Last year a tried a process in which i "faked" my plants out by putting then in the cool garage, and then planting them when they sprouted. Will this work? What is the proper technique?

Answer: If you want to have bulbs in the garden, the best time to plant them is in the fall. You would plant them directly in the ground and allow them to chill naturally through the winter. If you have bulbs you purchased last fall, it is probably too late for them to receive adequate chilling if you plant them outdoors now, but since the alternative is to throw them away, it might be worth a try.

Some gardeners will "force" bulbs in pots so they can enjoy them indoors during the winter. This involves chilling them for a prescribed period and then bringing them into a bright location to grow on and bloom. The exact timing varies according to the type of bulb you have.

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