It’s the end of winter and with that has come an onslaught of dreary weather. We’re watching the tender daffodil stalks emerge, but it seems like months before they’ll be in bloom. Remember that cabinet with your extra vases collecting dust? Maybe you need to re-purpose the vase your Valentine’s Day flowers came in? We have the perfect winter project: forcing bulbs.
Forcing bulbs has become very trendy in the past couple years and it’s a trick that florists use to obtain hyacinths and tulips before their time. Fortunately the process is easy, you can do it in your own home, and it won’t seem like a garden chore. The first step is to figure out if your bulbs need chilling or not. Better Homes and Gardens has a great article that includes a chart for how long different types of bulbs need to be pre-chilled. If you already have spare bulbs stored in the refrigerator or in the basement, now is the time to put them in action! Otherwise, this may be a project to refer back to for next spring, when there is more time to chill the bulbs.
Once you’ve determined if your bulbs are ready to go, you only need simple materials and a small amount of space. You can force your bulbs in a container with potting soil or, as in the photo above, you can use a glass vase with small rocks or pebbles. There are also forcing vases that allow you to place the bulb on top, water, and go.
If you choose to use soil and a container: pre-soak the roots of the bulbs for a few hours. Place them in the pot and gently cover with soil. You can even layer different types of bulbs with larger bulbs close to the base of the pot and smaller bulbs near the top. It’s never a bad idea to include a layer of rock on the bottom on your pot for better drainage. Place the pot in a warm, sunny area.
If you choose to force the bulbs in a vase or glass container, the process is nearly the same. Soak the roots, line your vase with an inch or two of rock, and water up to the top of the rocks. Place your bulbs in a warm, sunny area and enjoy watching your flowers emerge!
Photo Credit: From our Pinterest board “Spring Bulb Planting.”