Forcing Spring Bulbs

kimbaDIYMany types of bulbs can be planted in pots, chilled in a refrigerator or garage, and then forced into bloom in late winter or early spring.  Bulbs to force are best planted before December 1, so the end is coming for this fun project.  Good bulbs for forcing include Hyacinths, Crocus, Tulips, Narcissus, and Dwarf Iris.

I bought my bulbs at my local feed and seed because I like to support a locally owned business over a chain store.  I purchased Paperwhites, Dwarf Iris, Crocus, and Anemones.  I’ve never forced Anemones, so this will be an experiment!  The Hardy Gladiolus will be planted outside in one of my flowerbeds.


I then found containers for each type of bulb.  The glass bowl is my traditional Paperwhite bowl and the other three are from floral arrangements from a florist.  I’m glad that I saved them!


Paperwhites will bloom a few weeks after they are planted.  These should look great for December decorating.  Paperwhites do well for me planted in gravel.  I push the bulbs into the gravel and add just enough water to cover their roots.


Can you see the water?


I keep will these on my enclosed porch until they bloom.  You can see that one of my Christmas cacti already is starting to bloom!


Now for the other bulbs.  I planted them in potting soil in my pots and tried to follow the directions on the label for the proper planting depth.

These are the Anemone bulbs.  Mmmm… It wouldn’t be hard to mistake them for something else!


I put some soil in the bottom of my container.


Then I pressed in the Anemone bulbs.  Can you see them?


Next I covered them with soil to make them be planted at the depth recommended on the label.  (No picture)

Here are the Iris and the Crocus.  Both were  covered in soil after inserting the bulbs.



The Feed and Seed had a free booklet that told me the chilling time for each bulb type.  If this experiment works, I’ll have indoor blooms every two weeks for six weeks.

I made a label for each container to remind me when to take them out of the refrigerator.




I gave each container a light sprinkle of water and then put them to bed in our basement refrigerator.


Sleep tight little bulbs!  I’ll check on you every week or so and give you a little water.  I look forward to your pretty blooms in 2010!

Be sure to visit Kimba’s A Soft Place to Land for inspiring ideas for this week.


  1. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I’m new to gardening and I’ve been reluctant to plant and force bulbs. You make it sound so easy, I may have try it.

  2. I’ve done bulbs (calla lillies) once. Didn’t force them though, just started them inside in spring. I LOVE anemones. They are one of my fave flowers. Good luck!

  3. Wow! I’ve never forced bulbs before. If I had a basement or a garage, I’d definitely give it a try. Takes dedication…I hope I wouldn’t forget about them! 😉

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