Newsletter Feature

 

FORCING BULBS   by Kathy Cranage

     Thinking about the dark days of late winter and early spring that will be here before we know it, many people turn to forcing bulbs to bring a bit of floral cheer to the home. It is a fairly simple process and one that is not only beautiful, it can be done with minimal effort and can bring the fragrance of the garden indoors.

     First you must choose which bulb. There are many to choose from including hyacinth, grape hyacinth, crocus, amaryllis and paperwhites. Of these, only amaryllis and paperwhites require no pre-chilling. So if you want color from the bulbs requiring a little chill, plan ahead by at least 10-14 weeks (first of November). You can get flowers from the amaryllis and paperwhites in 4-8 weeks

     The bulbs should be just a bit smaller than your vessel of choice. An example would be a mason jar for an amaryllis, a dessert cup for a few crocus bulbs. For a single bulb they should sit snugly against the vessel. They should just reach but not touch the top of the water in the vessel. If you don't have a bulb forcing vessel you can place stones or glass marbles in the vessel to hold the bulb steady. Once roots start to develop and shoots begin to show 1-2 inches above the bulb, its time to move the vase from the fridge to a dimly lit space. Gradually move the vase into more light, but never into direct sunlight. If leaves start to grow faster than you are seeing flower buds, move them back into a cooler, darker spot or cover them for a day or two. https://oldhousegardens.com/ForcingBulbs https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/houseplants/forcing- bulbs-for-indoor-beauty-in-winter/