Bulbs forum: Bulb Forcing

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Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Nov 25, 2014 9:09 PM CST
Save me some time. I know this site is so complete and someone I am sure has asked this before. How do you force your bulbs to bloom indoors before Spring? Can someone point me to the answer/

Every year I pick up bulbs at Lowes and Home Depot when they put them on sale for 75% off. I usually just put them in the garage until spring and plant them. I want to plant them in pots indoors.

Thank you.

Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 28, 2014 8:32 AM CST
Pot them up close together, with the bulbs just barely covered with potting media (it's typical to see the tops of the bulbs exposed), allowing lots of pot space for root growth. Water just enough to moisten the media, then set the pots in a cool, dark place and allow for rooting and cooling. A refrigerator works well, and I have used my cellar before. Chill times vary a bit from one variety to another, but most sources recommend 6 weeks at about 45F. Some Daffodils require little or no chill time (paperwhites and other tender tazetta hybrids), so it can vary. Pots should be checked from time to time for moisture- they won't need much, but shouldn't dry out. The roots often force the bulbs out of the media, and I gently push them down from time to time. You should see roots in the drainage hole by the time they're ready to bring into warmth and light.

After rooting/cooling, bring them into a cool, well lit space to grow and flower. Good light is needed to keep them from getting too tall and lanky. Too much warmth can make them grow too quickly, weak spindly growth, and can cause bloom blast (buds dry up before opening).

Let us know what you get, and about your progress.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 28, 2014 8:39 AM CST
Just remembered something worth sharing. The last time I forced, it was Tulips (previously I'd only forced Daffodils and Hyacinths). They had been ready to bring into the warmth for a while, but I was waiting till I could set them outside on the deck. When I brought them out, rodents had eaten a lot of the bulbs. Daffodils and Hyacinths are rodent safe, but Crocus as well as Tulips are tasty to them. Something to keep in mind when choosing a spot.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Nov 28, 2014 8:44 AM CST
Neal, you just mentioned bloom blast. I have a group of daffodils that are planted in one particular spot that do this almost every year. All of the other daffys that are planted in many other places in the garden do not exhibit this condition. When I first saw this I thought it was because they were mulched too deeply. I took some mulch off for the next year and still had the blooms dry up. Last spring they came up nicely, looked great and the first few to open were gorgeous, frilly, many layered blooms. Then all the rest dried up. Do you know what is the most common problem with bloom blast in daffodils that are planted in the garden?
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 28, 2014 9:42 AM CST
Bonnie, bud blast is fairly common in older double Daffodil varieties. Years ago, I had a planting of 'Mary Copeland' that performed well for several years, but started blasting when the clump became crowded. I think this could be the case with yours. Insufficient cooling time can cause bud blast, but I don't think that would be a problem in your zone.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Nov 28, 2014 10:01 AM CST
Thanks Neal. They have been in that one spot for about ten years and overcrowding is certainly a problem. I will wait till the green tops die off this coming spring and dig them up. I will replant some there and some in other locations and see if I can get blooms. I have another one with the same growth and bloom habits - just a different color in the bloom - planted in a location that has become mostly shady and they seem to thrive. The bloom is only half of what there would be if they had full sun but they are healthy. I need to thin and move them also. There will be bushels of bulbs from them.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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jmorth
Nov 29, 2014 3:40 AM CST
Here's an article I wrote for here a while back -
http://garden.org/ideas/view/jmorth/1499/Forcing-Bulbs-in-th...
It specifically addresses daffodils but would apply pretty much as is to tulips and other spring flowering forcible bulbs.
I've got 45 pots of daffodils and tulips in their cold stage at present.
I have very good success transplanting daffodils into the garden after enjoying their forced blooms. Bulbs blooming in-doors in the winter reduce the 'winter blues' to a very considerable extent.
I discard forced tulips as they usually split after the force.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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SCButtercup
Nov 29, 2014 5:11 AM CST
@cinta
Paper white narcissus do not need cold treating so I started a bagful of those earlier this month to be ready by Christmas. They were cheap at Home Depot and I have several containers going. One trick I learned on this site last year: after the stalks are 5-6 inches tall, drain and change out water with vodka/water solution (7 parts water, 1 part alcohol if using 80 proof cheap vodka). Water with alcohol/water solution and stalks will be markedly shorter, no flopping over, and blooms are just as nice. Started a tradition last year of growing a jar full of these for a friend, delivering them to her office when they are almost blooming.

For other bulbs that do need cold treating jmorth's directions are great.

Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Nov 29, 2014 8:38 AM CST
I have ordered some amaryllis bulbs and I will force them for the months of January and February. I always plant them in the garden after the weather warms up and they seem to bounce back and do well.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Nov 29, 2014 10:15 AM CST
Thank you all so very much for your help. Lowes and HD always have daf, tulips and Hyacinth 75% off in Nov. I purchase them every year and save them cool and plant in the Spring. Most come up and bloom the first Spring but later in the Spring so it extends my bloom time in the gardens.

This year I want to force a couple and you all have been very helpful. Thank you.

Special thank you Neal for taking the time for the special details.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Jan 8, 2015 12:25 PM CST
Grand Cru Amaryllis

Thumb of 2015-01-08/grannysgarden/bc722c
Thumb of 2015-01-08/grannysgarden/94c8af

I have three Star of Holland that should bloom near the end of this month. Makes a nice colorful spot in the house after all the Christmas decor is packed away.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Jan 8, 2015 1:34 PM CST
Beautiful Bonnie! Amaryllis make me really happy at this time of year; this time after the holiday sparkle is gone is when I really want to see blooms. Mine typically wait till January to start blooming. I've got an old heirloom Amaryllis that is evergreen blooming now, and the other more common types are budding.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Jan 8, 2015 1:40 PM CST
Neal, I always tell myself to force many bulbs but fall clean up in the garden seems to take so much time along with winterizing the house and outbuildings. Now, like every January, I am wishing I had a whole window full of forced blooms. When your amaryllis bloom share photos please. My other amaryllis bulbs are in pots in the garden room and due to the very cool temps today, and for the next few days, they will be later in blooming than usual.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Jan 8, 2015 1:57 PM CST





Here ya go Smiling
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Jan 8, 2015 2:01 PM CST
Just gorgeous, Neal! Thank you.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
gemini_sage
Jan 8, 2015 3:11 PM CST
Thanks Bonnie! I love the green throats. It usually throws a few blooms in summer too, while it is outside. When it has more light the blooms are a deeper orange. As soon as it finishes, I'll spread the bulbs out in a larger pot- it has increased so much that bulbs are setting on top of each other. A couple of bloom stems arose from between bulbs, from underneath, so it's definitely time.

The lady that gave me my first start of them had a galvanized wash tub, filled with them. That was a sight to behold when they bloomed!
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
grannysgarden
Jan 8, 2015 4:27 PM CST
I can just imagine. The color in your photo is lovely. A tub full of these beauties would be the star of the garden.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......

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