DIY, Lifestyle

Forcing Spring-How to start bulbs inside

Forcing bulbs in the dead of winter is a rewarding and pleasant way to bring a little spring into the house months early. To do this isn’t hard work, for the bulbs have all the nutrients they need to bloom stored inside of them.

I love Spring, and all the sights and smells that go with it.

My love of spring, of gardens with new life sprouting up gives me renewed energy and great hope for tomorrow. I don’t need to wait until May to get a glimpse and smell of spring.


Most all bulbs need a resting or cooling period where they have been store for about 10 weeks in a cool place to mimic the cold, dark conditions of winter. You could put them in the refrigerator or in a unheated over-wintering spot like a garage. The temperature needs to be 35-45 F. In Michigan, bulbs are available for sale in stores in the autumn, so I begin that process as soon as I purchase them.

Some bulbs that force easily are: Daffodils; Amaryllis; Crocus; Tulips; Paper-whites; Hyacinth.

What you will need

  • Bulbs for forcing
  • Small rocks
  • All purpose planting soil
  • Containers
  • Water
  • Moss

Once you have gathered all the necessary components fill the pots with the medium and bulbs. I do two kinds of plantings. Some in rocks with added water but others in potting medium. Instead of placing the bulbs in the refrigerator I plant the bulbs in the dirt or rocks before I place them in cold storage. That way as soon as the cooling period is finished I bring in the already assembled pot. Then they are all ready to go and I don’t have to assemble them in the freezing cold. I have many made up in advance and when one pot is finished blooming I go get another out of storage. I then have many weeks of enjoyment.

Place some soil into your container so it is about one half full. Select large plump bulbs for forcing. Place the bulbs into the container with the top of the bulb pointing up. I like to place as many bulbs as possible into a container letting the bulbs touch one another. Cover up with soil leaving just the tips exposed. Water. Keep moist the entire storage time. Assemble the containers with small rocks the same way, snuggly placing bulbs with some stones on top.

I like adding moss to the tops or planting them in a clump of growing moss that I picked from our woodlot.

Once they bloom place them in a cool location at night to prolong the blooming time. When the weather permits plant them outside for future blooms.

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