Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

San Gabriel, CA
Question by MoyPat
September 30, 1999
I have just purchased my bulbs and we are in a Heat Wave well over 100, so I have not planted yet. Should I just wait a few weeks, I'm so worried they will just die out there.

I have planted paper whites in clay pots and brought them all indoors.

Thank you any advice will be great. I'm very new at gardening but having fun !

Answer from NGA
September 30, 1999


Spring-flowering bulbs require a prolonged winter chill before they'll grow roots and foliage. Putting them in the refrigerator will accomplish this. (The length of the chilling period differs from bulb type to bulb type, but it's usually 6-12 weeks.) After the prescribed chilling treatment, plant the bulbs in pots and place the pots outdoors. (The bulbs will need this additional period of cool and dark conditions in order to develop roots.) Keep the soil in the pots moist. Once the bulbs begin to sprout and the tips of the foliage are about an inch high, you can bring the pots indoors to finish forcing the plants, and bring them into bloom a few weeks earlier than they would bloom outdoors. Try to keep the pots in a cool location when you bring them indoors. If the temperature is too warm, the foliage will grow too rapidly and be pale and spindly. Good luck with your bulb-forcing venture!

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