Bulbs forum: forcing hyacinths or other bulbs

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(Zone 8b)
Jan 30, 2016 9:59 AM CST
I have never forced hyacinths so decided to give it a try. This is what I did. Back in the fall, I bought a cheap mixed bag from HD and separated by color. I put them in a brown paper bag and into the frig for 12 weeks. I then potted them up and placed on a semi- sunny windowsill. I have learned that the bulbs should be down in the soil more than I originally placed them. As you can see they look way too high in the pot. I found that when they root they will push the bulbs up. The bulbs should really only have exposed somewhere around the top 1/3 of the bulb. Yesterday, the blooms starting opening. These bulbs will have no set back when planted out in the garden due to the fact they were rooted and grown in soil versus using water. Do any of you force and what method do you use? Any tips or tricks that you can share?
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central Illinois
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Jan 30, 2016 6:44 PM CST
I force them 3 different ways, all successful -
a) cold period in refrig, then either potted up or placed in hyacinth glass w/ water
b) hyacinth glass w/ water for cold period and bloom
c) in soil for cold period and bloom
then to garden, sometimes the water only ones take 2 years to bloom outside.

Yours look fine; when those in pots push up, I usually just push them back down (gently, but forceful enough to keep em at desired depth). Same w/ tulips a/o daffodils (these are usually all forced in soil, though some daffodils have the ability to be forced more swiftly using just water).
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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Feb 2, 2016 9:04 PM CST
I have forced paperwhites before in 2012 using water gel beads in a glass vase, I wanted to see the roots grow. I started it in Nov 2012 and the blooms showed up in Feb the following year. Just a little slow but they showed up. After that, I have planted them in my containers outdoors, they eventually go ratty and leaves die off as our hot summer ensues and they come back every Fall to winter here, since our winter is mild.

Have also used similar method with amaryllis bulbs, using a combination of hydroton rocks and water gel beads in a glass vase.. It is hit and miss with the blooms. I also have one in soil to compare which grows faster. Forced in soil seems faster. But I like the rocks and water gel beads in a vase since I like to see roots developing. So far, I have only maintained one still in the glass vase, more as on ongoing experiment. The other amaryllis I continue on in soil in containers.

Name: Steve
Millbury, MA (Zone 5b)
Feb 6, 2016 7:58 AM CST
I bought some pre-cooled bulbs from Brent and Becky's when they were on sale late in the Fall. Here's Tulip Apricot Beauty and Muscari Valerie Finnis blooming in my bay window right now.

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[Last edited by steve_mass - Feb 6, 2016 7:59 AM (+)]
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Name: Kurt Nehrbass
Buffalo, NY (Zone 5b)
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Feb 6, 2016 8:11 AM CST
When I force bulbs I use Azalea pots. I put a layer of small stones on the bottom for drainage, then a layer of soil. I put as many bulbs in the pot that I think would be the right amount leaving a space between each bulb. If you're not going to save the bulbs then crowd them in. Sprinkle a little bit of bone meal around the bulbs then cover with soil until the tops of the bulbs are just seen. Water well and then place in a cold place for at least two months in the dark if you can. If you have an unheated garage that'll work too as long as you don't have critters that like to eat bulbs like mice, rats or squirrels. I usually put them on a shelf in the garage until February and then bring them into a cool room where they'll get some sun and wait and watch for the bulbs to sprout. I keep them in the cool room until the flowers start to open and then I'll bring them out into the house where I want to see them. I'll keep them watered and I'll feed them once a month until the foliage dies back, usually in spring, and then I'll let them go completely dry. I'll take them out of the pots and put the bulbs around the gardens. The flowers for the next year usually are smaller than they originally were, but they will grow and get nicer as time goes on.
(Zone 8b)
Feb 9, 2016 5:52 PM CST
I will always have to put mine in the frig due to the fact we don't have enough cold to put bulbs in a cool/ cold dark place. I sure do envy those of you who can do it that way.

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