The Q&A Archives: Brown Tips on Forced Bulbs

Question: I have some questions regarding some bulbs that I purchased from Burpee. Most of the bulbs I purchased, I planted in late fall. The remaining, I set aside to force in glass vases. Instead of the traditional forcing vases, I used a large vase with smallrocks in it. I filled the water up to the base of the bulbs resting on the rocks. All has gone well until now. The green shoots on the bulbs are starting to brown, from the tips down. None of the bulbs have flowered yet. Is it possible that I am missing some nutrient in the vase that I should add? Please let me know what you think. Thanks. Beth Meyer Oakland, CA

Answer: Forcing bulbs takes tremendous energy on the part of the bulb, so I'm not surprised you're seeing leaf tips browning before bloom. You could add a bit of liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength to help them along, but I wouldn't worry too much about the leaf tips as long as the bulb seems to be getting close to blooming. Just keep watering it and the bulb should be fine.

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