From the Garden: Bringing the Outdoors In

By Erin Breglia

Forc­ing bulbs indoors can be a great way to bring the col­ors and fra­grance of spring into the home dur­ing the cold dark days of win­ter. A fun project to tack­le with chil­dren or friends, a few bulbs in bloom also make a great gift for any flower lover. Tulips, hyacinths, cro­cus­es, and daf­fodils are excel­lent options.

Tim­ing is the main thing to con­sid­er when forc­ing bulbs. Typ­i­cal­ly, most bulbs need a min­i­mum 8 – 12 week cold peri­od, although you can find pre-chilled” bulbs that require only 2 – 3 weeks. If you are hop­ing for blooms in the heart of win­ter, it is best to start plant­i­ng in ear­ly Octo­ber, though plant­i­ng in the new year will still promise blooms ear­li­er than most out­door spring blossoms.

To get start­ed, you will need good pot­ting soil and a clean con­tain­er (with drainage holes) twice the depth of the bulbs you will be planting.

Fill the con­tain­er 12 to 23 deep with soil, then place the bulbs gen­tly on top, not press­ing in too hard. Place as many bulbs as pos­si­ble in the con­tain­er with­out their touch­ing each oth­er. A 6” wide pot can hold about 6 tulips, 3 daf­fodils, or about 15 minor bulbs such as grape hyacinth or cro­cus. Cov­er loose­ly with soil leav­ing the very tops of the bulbs exposed. Next water thor­ough­ly and label with the plant­i­ng date. Cov­er the con­tain­er loose­ly with a paper bag.

Place in a cool dark loca­tion: 35 – 45 degrees is opti­mal. An unheat­ed base­ment, attic, or attached garage can work as well as a refrig­er­a­tor. Just be sure the tem­per­a­ture is con­sis­tent and the pot remains moist at all times. After 812 weeks (depend­ing on bulb choice), remove the pot from stor­age, place in a sun­ny win­dow, and keep watered.

Even with snow out­side the win­dow, the sprout­ing of new flow­ers will be a wel­com­ing reminder that spring is on its way.

Winter 2016

Volume 34 , Number 1

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Aug 06, 2022

Landis Forest 5K - August 6, 2022

A record turnout! Click here to view all the great photos from this event, and... read more

Jun 10, 2022 | Anne Donnelly

Don't Overlook Your Reciprocal Admissions Privilege

A sometimes overlooked benefit of your Landis Arboretum membership is the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal... read more

May 29, 2022

Scenes From the Spring Plant Sale

Thanks to our many wonderful volunteers, plant consignors, vendors, and customers, the Landis Signature Spring... read more

May 28, 2022 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Q&A, Part III

In this last Q&A session, I am focusing on leaf color change during the... read more

May 28, 2022 | Erin McKenna Breglia, Landis Gardener

From the Garden: Milkweeds for Monarchs!

Many people enjoy seeing butterflies in our Landis gardens. especially the monarch butterfly, Danaus... read more

May 28, 2022 | Anita Sanchez

Life and Death on the Lawn

It’s a beautiful summer day. You’ve finished your stack of books from the Landis... read more

News Archive