Answer: Bulbs should be planted in the fall for spring bloom. If the ground isn't yet frozen, plant them 4-6" deep as soon as you can. For quick, mass planting, dig a trench rather than individual planting holes. If the ground is frozen, you can force some inside - pot them up in moistend medium, tops just exposed, and keep them in the fridge for 6-8 weeks. Bring them out for an early floral display. If you haven't got room in the fridge, place the pots in a dark, unheated (just above freezing) garage, basement, etc., or sink pots into a pile of compost and cover them with straw. Bring them out when you want them to start growing. Bulbs offered for purchase are usually in top shape and will bloom as expected the first year because the flower has already formed inside the bulb. Forced bulbs won't bloom again unless you plant them in the garden in spring and pamper them, and even then, it may be a couple of years before they blossom again.
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