Force Flowering Bulbs for Winter

The winter garden may be asleep, but you can bring spring color and scent indoors by growing preforced bulbs as houseplants.

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Hyacinths and Narcissus Flower Longer in Cool RoomEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The most effective displays use bulbs that have been "preforced," which simply means they have been chilled and fooled into thinking that winter has already passed, and can be grown to bloom for Christmas and New Year.

When to Start: early autumn
At Their Best: winter to early spring
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Materials Needed:

  • preforced bulbs, at least three per bowl
  • containers (with drainage holes); use deep pots for daffodils
  • potting soil
  • bulb fiber
  • moss for decoration

Hyacinths: Plant in Bowls

With colorful flowers and a delicious scent, hyacinths are ideal for growing indoors. Put a shallow layer of soil in a bowl. Place the hyacinths on top, not touching each other, with pointed ends up. Add more soil, leaving the top third of the bulbs uncovered. Water well.

Plant Hyacinth Bulbs Pointed End UpEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Store in Dark

Put the bowl in a cool, dark place for eight weeks. Check regularly and keep the soil slightly moist. Pale yellow leaves will eventually appear, and you should also be able to see the flower buds poking through in the middle.

Store Hyacinth Bulbs in Dark to Force BloomsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Aftercare

Bring the plants out into the light to flower. Place them in a cool, light spot, but not in bright sun. Water them enough to keep the soil just moist, and turn the bowl daily.

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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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