You do not have to wait until Spring to enjoy your favourite bulbs; there is no need to wait for those splashes of colour to break the monotony of the winter yard. You can grow your favourites indoors all Winter long.
The way you achieve this indoor bloom is by using a method that is called forcing and it is not as painful as it sounds. Your indoor garden will work best when you select bulbs that are hardy, this way you will be able to have colour throughout the seasons,
The following are the hardy bulbs that are most commonly forced:
- crocuses (Crocus species),
- daffodils (Narcissus species),
- hyacinths (Hyacinthus species)
- tulips (Tulipa species).
You can also force:
- Dutch iris (I. x hollandica)
- netted iris (Iris reticulata),
- snowdrop (Galanthus species)
- grape hyacinth (Muscari species),\
- winter aconite (Eranthis species)
- star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum species),
- and Brodiaea species.
There are some bulbs that are difficult to force and may require special conditions such as artificial lighting, among these, are the Allium, Camassia, Lilium and Scillaspecies.
There are four stages involved when forcing bulbs:
(1) selecting appropriate bulbs;
(4) Forcing into flower.
You will achieve the best results when you but the cultivars that are recommended for forcing. ; This is important when you are working with daffodils, hyacinths and tulips, where the cultivar selection is wide.
The bulbs need to be handled with care so avoid exposing them to temperature extremes for example.
If you are not going to plant them immediately then be sure store them in a cool place (35 to 55 °F). You can place bare bulbs in the refrigerator for several weeks before you pot them.
It is best to keep them in a paper or mesh bag than have holes for breathing. If you are going to use the crisper drawer in your fridge make sure that you do not put fruit or vegetables in the same drawer. The ripening process gives off a gas that may harm the bulbs.
Remember that some bulbs are poisonous, and should not be eaten so if you have young children it may be best not to use the fridge for bulb storage.