Messages posted to thread:

MARY STILLAR07-Nov-02 02:54 PM EST 3b   
Susan08-Nov-02 08:59 AM EST 6a   
donna08-Nov-02 06:45 PM EST 3a   
Diane08-Nov-02 06:45 PM EST 6   
Susan08-Nov-02 07:10 PM EST 6a   
Harlequin11-Nov-02 07:50 PM EST 5   

Subject: forcing spring bulbs
Zone: 3b
Date: 07-Nov-02 02:54 PM EST

iwould like to try forcing some tulips & hyacinths. what containers to use? how deep and how long to leave in refrigerator do you water while they are in frig?

Subject: RE: forcing spring bulbs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 08-Nov-02 08:59 AM EST

There are lots of articles on this site about forcing bulbs. If you type forcing bulbs in the search box, you should find lots of information in the documents listing that will come back in the search results. I don't have room in the fridge so I force my bulbs in pots that I leave on the patio until early December or so when I move them to an unheated garage. I put the bulbs in the pots about three weeks ago. I watered them well when I planted them but, since then, they've survived on rain. Once they're in the garage, I only water if we have a really warm spell. I bring the pots into the house into a cool, bright area in mid January - there is usually an inch or so of growth showing by then. Since I'm in a much warmer area than you, I don't know if my approach would work for you....

Subject: RE: forcing spring bulbs
From: donna
Zone: 3a
Date: 08-Nov-02 06:45 PM EST

Mary, you can also put those bulbs in the fridge in paper bags and chill them that way for about 10-13 weeks, then plant them in pots, keep as cool as possible until they show signs of growth and then bring them out to continue growing.

Subject: RE: forcing spring bulbs
From: Diane
Zone: 6
Date: 08-Nov-02 06:45 PM EST

Hi Susan Do your bulbs/earth freeze in your unheated garage?

Subject: RE: forcing spring bulbs
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 08-Nov-02 07:10 PM EST

Diane - the pots sure look pretty frozen by the end of December or so but they obviously don't freeze as hard as they would outdoors. I've not lost any yet to freeze damage and I've been doing them this way for the last 3 winters. I use plastic pots that are about 6 inches deep or so and a little wider - 8" or so. I plant things in two layers - late bulbs on the bottom and early ones on the top so I get an extended bloom period from each pot.

Subject: RE: forcing spring bulbs
From: Harlequin
Zone: 5
Date: 11-Nov-02 07:50 PM EST

I'll deal with tulips but many bulbs being forced are dealt with by similar ways.

Into a 6" clay pot, put 6 good sized tulips bulbs which has had good topsoil put in to the top of the edge.....loosely.

Make a hole in the soil for the not push the bulbs into the soil to make a hole----make the hole first. Then when the bulb goes in, it does not compress the soil under it which might affect the way the roots develop.

Put the flat side of a bulb near the edge of the pot. This allows the first of the leaves to form to grow outwards, not inwards where it might interfere with other foliage.

Water slowly but deep. This should then take the soil away from the edge and go deeper. Continued waterings will cause the soil to compress sufficient to allow further watering to be held.

Put the pots into the refrigerator....if you've got room in there or use an old fridge that maybe is sitting down in the basement or out in the garage. A functioning fridge has a temperature of 35 to 45 degrees F. (An unheated winter.....don't do it, they'll freeze for sure if you reside in anywhere but a zone 8 or better.

Bulbs must be allowed to be these temperatures. They must or they wont develop their roots sufficient to grow foliage and bloom. Into the fridge or a coldcellar for 14 to 16 weeks. If you put them into a refrigerator prior to potting, then reduce the amount of weeks by 3 if they spend that any time more than that in the fridge.

They must be given this time to develop roots.

Then they are brought out into a sunny window where in about 3 weeks, they should come to bloom.

Watering.....of course, they are living plants and must be kept moist throughout the entire cooling period. When brought out, they are watered if needed and fertilized when foliage is growing, continued when blooming. Fertilizer speeds up bloom...thus it shortens bloom time. Sun....hastens growth and bloom....withdrawing sun slows down bloom. If the plant is blooming too fast, put it back into a cool area.

When the bloom is over and the garden soil can be worked, put the plant into your garden soil, allow the foliage to die back as usual and it will re-appear the next or the next spring.

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