Forcing hyacinths - Knowledgebase Question

Fairfax, VA
Avatar for noellebridgm
Question by noellebridgm
December 3, 1997
I have a half-dozen or so hyacinths & tulips that I successfully forced last winter & let go dormant over the summer. They have been at a cool, south-facing window for about two months now, & are beginning to show new growth. Should I put them in the fridge or outside for the 8-10 weeks recommended for forcing, or assumed that the new growth indicates that they are ready to go? I didn't water them until the new growth began, & I can put them in the fridge while they're small if that's the only way to expect any blooms.

Thank you for your help!

Answer from NGA
December 3, 1997
Both Hyacinths and Tulips require at least 8 weeks of chilling and darkness in order to bloom. Unless the "cool" window space was 35-40F for those two months, the bulbs probably haven't formed flower buds, or the buds won't be fully formed. Otherwise, you've done well to hold off watering until the green showed. Next time, start the chilling process about 10-12 weeks before you want them to bloom. I think it's too late to ensure showy blooms at this point, but you've got an opportunity to prove me wrong - put a couple of each in the fridge, and let us know what happens!

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