Bulbs are often times the first welcoming signs of Spring. Just when we have grown tired of the cold winter days, Spring bulbs start popping up-sometimes even through the snow- to begin a parade of beautiful color. For s relatively small investment in time and money, bulbs are very rewarding. They are easy to plant and easy to take care of-and they will continue to bloom year after year!
You’ll find a wide variety of Spring Blooming Bulbs such as Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinths, Allium, and more in stock for the Fall, which is the time to plant these Spring flowers. You will also find Summer Bulbs in stock such as Lillys, Gladiolas, Cannas, Dahlias, and many other popular varieties in late May after all fear of frost has passed.
Choose a spot that has adequate sunlight (most bulbs require six or more hours of sun each day). Be certain the area has good drainage, and quality soil. You can add compost, or other organic material to provide the soil with additional nutrients. The general rule when planting bulbs is to dig the hole three inches deeper than the width of the bulb and plant them with the point facing upwards. Dig holes with ease by using a bulb auger. Not sure what that is? Stop in or give us a call for more details.
Forcing Bulbs Indoors
Make Springtime arrive even earlier by forcing bulbs indoors! It helps beat the winter blues, and it is a great project for gardeners that are simply itching to get their hands in the dirt! Imagine enjoying the sweet scent of hyacinths during cold winter days, or seeing the cheerful color of tulips on your table! Just remember though that you have to prepare! Although it’s not hard to fool Mother Nature, you can’t hurry the process. Forcing most spring bulbs into bloom requires eight to 15 weeks of chilling. Please refer to the guide located at the bottom of the page regarding chill times.
How to Force Bulbs Indoors
The first thing to remember is that when chilling bulbs in the refrigerator, store them away from fresh fruits and vegetables that can emit ethylene gas and damage the flowers that are trying to develop inside the bulbs. Chill potted and bulk bulbs in closed paper bags.
In general, smaller bulbs like crocus, grape hyacinths, miniature daffodils, iris, and tulips are easy to force. Large, fragrant hyacinths are also easy. Whatever type of flower you decide to force, buy the largest size bulbs you can find. The bigger the bulb, the more flowers. Also, be sure the bulbs are firm, free from nicks and bruises, and that the roots haven’t sprouted yet.
Step One: Potting your bulbs
- Most bulbs will do well if grown in quality potting mix. We use Espoma Planting Mix because it is light, easy to work with, and has mycorrhizae which helps with root development.
- Choose a pot that’s at least twice as deep as the bulbs to allow for proper root growth. Fill the pot half full of potting mix. Place as many bulbs as possible in the pot, without letting them touch. A 6-inch-wide pot holds up to six tulips, daffodils, or 15 small bulbs, such as crocuses or grape hyacinths. For a thick show, layer more than one kind of bulb in the same pot; place larger bulbs on the bottom and they’ll grow around the smaller ones. If the two bulbs you want to combine have different chilling and blooming schedules, plant them first in small plastic containers and combine them once they’re in bloom.
Step Two: Prepare for the cold period and begin chilling
Cover the bulbs with potting mix, leaving their tips showing. Water the bulbs thoroughly. Label with name and date; loosely cover pot with a paper bag. Place in cool (35 to 45 degrees F), dark storage for chilling. An unheated attic, basement, or attached garage makes a good chilling area, but monitor the temperature if the weather turns extremely cold.
Check moisture in the pot periodically. Keep soil damp but not wet. When chilling is complete, you’ll see roots poking out of the bottom of the pot and green sprouts emerging at the bulb tips. It’s time to move the potted bulbs into a warm room.
Step Three: Remove bulbs from the cold
When flower buds form, move your potted bulbs into a sunny spot such as a bright window. Keep the soil damp. When flowers appear, move the pot out of direct sun to make the blooms last longer. After the blooms fade and wither, toss them (bulbs and all) into the compost. Most forced bulbs have used up their energy and won’t bloom again.
Chilling and Blooming Times
- Daffodils: 12-15 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Tulips: 10-16 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Crocus: 8-15 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Grape hyacinth (Muscari): 8-15 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Iris reticulata: 13-15 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Snowdrop (Galanthus): 15 weeks of chilling; 2 weeks to bloom after chilling.
- Hyacinth: 12-15 weeks of chilling; 2-3 weeks to bloom after chilling.