Force Bulbs in Pots

Have blooms whenever you want


How to Force Bulbs in Pots

Next time you buy bulbs in the fall, buy some extra for forcing in pots. It's fairly easy and is a great way to enjoy bulbs earlier in the season or indoors. It's also an excellent way to experiment with plant combinations before planting them in your garden.

Here are the basics:

  • Start with a plastic pot that has good drainage, at least 8" tall.
  • Choose a good quality potting soil.
  • Choose a good quality bulb food.
  • Choose two or three early blooming bulb varieties of varying heights.
  • Find a protected place that will have a temperature of 35 degrees to 50 degrees for 3-4 months.

What's next:

  1. Fill the pot with about two inches of potting soil.
  2. Place the first layer of bulbs in the bottom of the pot, starting with the tallest blooming bulb. Leave about a half an inch between each bulb.
  3. Add an inch of soil between layers and continue adding bulbs until you are about 2" from the top of the pot. The shortest, earliest blooming bulbs should be the top most layers.
  4. Put a half inch of soil on top of the bulbs, sprinkle with fertilizer according to package directions.
  5. Put another half inch of soil on top of the fertilizer and water well.
  6. While pot is in cold storage, make sure it's kept equally moist and make sure it does not freeze solid. The bulbs could turn to mush if frozen solid.
  7. About 4 weeks before you want them to start blooming, bring the pot inside or place it outdoors in a sunny location.

How to Force Bulbs in Pots

Suggested Bulb Combinations:

  • Tulip 'Cardinal Mindszenty' (bottom layer)
  • Daffodil 'Baby Boomer' (middle layer)
  • Crocus 'Prince Claus' (top layer)

  • Tulip 'Prinses Irene' (bottom layer)
  • Tulip 'Calgary' (middle layer)
  • Crocus 'Flower Record' (top layer)

  • Tulip 'Apricot Beauty' (bottom layer)
  • Daffodil 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'(middle layer)
  • Crocus 'Jeanne d'Arc' (bottom layer)

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