Messages posted to thread:

bill05-Feb-03 10:13 PM EST 3a   
Susan06-Feb-03 08:39 AM EST 6a   
Ed06-Feb-03 10:26 PM EST 5a   
GaspĂ© greenish thumb19-Feb-03 10:09 AM EST 4b   
PatA21-Feb-03 03:33 PM EST 3a   

Subject: Forcing Bulbs...too late?
From: bill
Zone: 3a
Date: 05-Feb-03 10:13 PM EST

I had a neighbour years ago who put her tulip/daff/other spring bulbs into the freezer about this time of year and kept them there for 6-8 weeks before planting. She had great success but will I if I do the same thing? What bulbs can/can't be forced? Thanks.

Subject: RE: Forcing Bulbs...too late?
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 06-Feb-03 08:39 AM EST

I do not believe that unprotected bulbs would survive 6-8 weeks in a freezer and emerge alive to bloom for you! In the crisper of the fridge - yes; in a freezer - no! Any of the spring flowering bulbs can be forced but it's a bit late now. By the time they go through cold treatment and then grow to flowering size, the in-ground bulbs are likely to be blooming (in my zone - maybe not in yours though....) I brought my forced bulbs indoors in early January and they started blooming at the end of last week. If you start now, it'll be the April before you get blooms. Why don't you just buy a couple pots of forced bulbs? They're available in lots of places at this time of year. Or maybe see if you can find some pre-chilled bulbs, which would eliminate the 6-8 week chilling process. For next year, plan to start your forcing process in the fall.

Subject: RE: Forcing Bulbs...too late?
From: Ed
Zone: 5a
Date: 06-Feb-03 10:26 PM EST

Good answer, Susan. Spring blooming bulbs become available in stores during Sept-Oct and should be planted outdoors 4-6 wks before freeze-up. At this time, those intended for forcing should be given an approx 3-month cold treatment, a refrigerator crisper ideal for this purpose. About first wk Jan. pot up using damp growing medium, place in dark cool location, checking approx weekly to assure medium stays damp. Within weeks, depending on location and temperature shoots will appear,after which gradual exposure to increasing ligh and temperature will result in bloom some time in February. Planning to have bulbs in bloom on specific date had better be left to experts with rigid control mechanisms. Tulips and daffodils seem to be the most popular forcers, though not all force equally well.This may call for a bit of local research on your part.

Subject: RE: Forcing Bulbs...too late?
From: Gaspé greenish thumb
Zone: 4b
Date: 19-Feb-03 10:09 AM EST

Hi Bill, About fifteen years ago, I had several packages of bulbs that didn't get planted in the fall because winter arrived a bit too early. :-) I planted them in the spring as soon as the ground thawed figuring the attempt was better than simply tossing them in the garbage. The tulips never showed a shoot but the daffodils came up and bloomed well just a bit later than usual that first spring. Since then, they have thrived like narcissi tend to do in this area.

Subject: RE: Forcing Bulbs...too late?
From: PatA
Zone: 3a
Date: 21-Feb-03 03:33 PM EST

Hi Bill, I too am in zone 3. Everyone has given you some great advice! I potted my bulbs for forcing right away in late Oct and then put the containers into my very cold but not freezing basement.(I live in a 1920's house with dirt basemanet not a snug warm modern insulated one) I find it's important to watch watering as the bulbs should be well drained but not allowed to sit dried out for long periods. Don't put your bulbs near stored fruit/veggies like potatoes carrots & especially bannanas. They give of ethelene gas the speeds up ripening or in the case of bulbs, ROTTING! What worked great for me was Large-flowered Crocus, Grape Hyacinth, and dwarf narcissus Rip van Winkle. It looks like bright yellow stars. I brought them out to a sunny window about 4 weeks ago and they started to bloom about 2 weeks later. Some are done now but I probably can squeek out another week frome the grape hyacinth by putting them in my basement every night. I find it's key to buy good quality bulbs early, Sept or Oct. The longer you wait the less choice you get and the harder it is on the bulbs to sit in a warm store. One more thing to keep in mind, crocus, squill and other small bulbs need about 6-8 wks of chilling, tulips, daffodils/narcissus and hyacinths perform better with 10-14 wks of chilling. You can keep them cool longer but any less time will reduce the amount and quality of flowers.

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