There’s no need to wait until spring to have colorful blooms—you can grow bulbs indoors, a refreshing sight during the snowy winter months! Here’s how to get started.
There’s no need to wait until spring to have colorful blooms—you can grow bulbs indoors, a refreshing sight during the snowy winter months! “Forcing” bulbs is the process of giving spring-flowering bulbs desirable conditions created indoors so that the bulbs are tricked into blooming ahead of schedule.
What Bulbs Can Be Grown Indoors?Some spring-flowering bulbs require a chilling period to bloom while others do not. When these bulbs are planted outside during fall, the ground cools and they go through this process. But we can replicate these conditions indoors! Bulbs that require chilling include Tulips, Crocuses, and most Hyacinths. Other spring-blooming bulbs don’t require a cooling period. These include Amaryllis and Paperwhites. No matter which bulbs you choose, they will add a lot of beauty to your home décor!
"Whether you’re growing bulbs that require chilling or not, when the container is in a warm room in a bright spot, rotate the container every few days."
How to Force Bulbs IndoorsForcing bulbs indoors, whether you’re growing ones that require a chilling period or not, is a pretty straightforward process!
- Find a pot or large glass container to grow your bulbs in. Fill it with gravel or potting soil, just enough to hold the bulbs in place. For extra interest, consider using a clear container and use layers of colored gravel. Plus, it’s pretty cool to watch the root structures as the bulbs grow, something that will be especially interesting to kids!
- Plant the bulbs with the pointed tip facing up, and cover the bulbs with soil, leaving the tip exposed. The bulbs can be nice and close together, even touching. We recommend planting multiple together—just like while planting bulbs outside, a group of bulbs create more impact.
- Water the bulbs. If you choose to use gravel rather than soil, when you water the bulb, make sure that the water barely reaches the bulb. Otherwise, the bulb faces the risk of rotting.
- For bulbs that don’t require a cooling period, simply place the bulbs in a warm spot indoors, and in about three to five weeks, blooms will appear!
- For bulbs that require chilling, place the container in an unheated shed or a cool indoor location, like a three-season sunroom. You can also store the container in the fridge, but make sure that it’s not near any fresh produce. Gases from fruit and vegetables can have a negative effect on flower production.
- In about six to 12 weeks, you’ll start to see green tips. You can then put the container in a warmer location with indirect light. The leaves will continue to grow, and eventually flower buds will appear. It’s then time to move the bulbs into a bright and warm room to enjoy the beautiful blooms!
Whether you’re growing bulbs that require chilling or not, when the container is in a warm room in a bright spot, rotate the container every few days. This will encourage the plants to grow straight rather than leaning toward the window and sunlight. If growing in soil, keep it moist but not soggy. If growing in gravel, check the water level occasionally and add more if needed, again making sure the water is reaching the roots but that the bulb itself isn’t entirely sitting in water. In spring, you can even plant these flowers outside in your garden once the danger of frost has passed.
Forcing bulbs indoors will brighten up the darker winter months. Stop by our garden center to grab some spring-flowering bulbs that you can grow indoors this upcoming season!