Forcing Bulbs for the Winter

November 11, 2014

Wax bulbs amaryllis by rochelle greayer www.pithandvigor.comI am afraid I am probably a little behind for having beautiful blooming bulbs for the holidays — so I picked up a few waxed amaryllis at Lowes today.  Have you seen these?  I have to admit at first I hesitated to pick one up – it just seemed a little wrong to cover a bulb in wax and seal it all up.  But then on the other hand…they were already a few inches tall, seemed healthy, and I can’t deny a certain novelty….so I am giving it a try.  I think closer to the season, I might arrange them into a centerpiece for the dining room table – and the little metal base will be helpful to anchor it into something bigger.

forcing bulbs puschkinia fritillaria and gallanthus
But not one to give up on my bulb forcing goals….I also picked up a bag of Puschkinia, a bag of fritillaria meleagris and another of convallaria.  I read over on Tovah Martin’s blog that she had good luck forcing fritillaria meleagris by simply keeping the bulbs near a cool window (around 50 deg F) and they forced beautifully.  I view this as fantastic news, as I am not keen on opening up space in the fridge for a few months to keep them cold.  But I might be able to sort out something in the attic or my chilly porch.  I also read that early blooming bulbs are easier to force and need shorter amounts of times of cooling….so I am hoping to have some good luck with the Convallaria and Puschkinia.

potting up

Forcing bulbs is not so difficult – but it does take time.  After planting up the bulbs, you need to simulate a cold period that they would have otherwise had outdoors.  This generally needs to last about 12 weeks – but some bulbs are longer and some shorter.  This means of course that my projects will not be traditional holiday blooms but rather Martin Luther Kings day blooms, and Valentines day blooms….perhaps even president’s day blooms. But whatever…

images via and rochelle greayer

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  1. Rochelle,

    Great information for growing plants indoors. I’m new to gardening so your last paragraph was helpful advice. I love the idea of growing your own centerpieces. Thanks for the post!

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