There isn’t a lot we can do outdoors in the winter, and if you are a gardener like me, you miss gardening. Forcing bulbs spring bulbs to bloom during the winter is the perfect way to brighten a winter day. One of the easiest bulbs to force is the paperwhite. They are not only pretty but they create a wonderful fragrance in your home. If you live in a warm winter area such as zones 8-11 you can plant them outdoors in the fall for a late winter bloom. In my zone 7b garden, I have to be satisfied with giving them a little help to bloom indoors during the winter months.
Which flower bulbs can you use for forcing?
- Paperwhites and Amaryllis are the easiest bulbs to force and do not have to be pre chilled.
- Other bulbs to consider for forcing include hyacinths, tulips and crocus.
- You can buy the bulbs separately, but around the holidays they often come in a kit. These make a great gift for a gardener!
Tips for Forcing Spring Bulbs in the Winter:
- Choose bulbs that are large and firm. Larger bulbs will give you larger blooms.
- There are two ways to force bulbs. Using water only, or in a growing medium. You can purchase a vase that is specifically made for forcing bulbs in water. The vase will allow the flower bulb to sit with only its roots in the water. This will keep the bulb from rotting. Or you can use a pan, bowl, or terracotta saucer that is filled with pebbles. Bury the bulbs halfway down into the pebbles. Place with the points facing up. Add enough water that the lower quarter of the flower bulb is in the water. Be sure and keep enough water in the container that the roots stay wet.
- To force in soil use a pot or container of your choice with drainage Fill with a good quality potting mix, place the bulbs with the pointed end up, into the soil, covering about 3/4 of the bulb. Water well, and keep the soil moist.
I used one of my flea market finds to plant these paperwhite bulbs. I had used the can for plants before so there were drainage holes.
This is Day 17, a bloom has already formed.
UPDATE: Day 21: It’s blooming, fragrant, and has one bud ready to open
If you would like to bring a little cheer into your home, I have included a source for some of the things you may need. Just click on the picture or link to take you to Amazon.
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