Part I: What is Forcing???

Many differnt fall bulbs can be forced in pots, including grape hyacinth.

We’ve all been there: for one reason or another you didn’t get to planting your spring-blooming bulbs this fall. Maybe you live in an apartment or condo where you have no yard, maybe the weather turned colder faster than you expected, or maybe you just plain didn’t get to it. Whatever the reason may be, it’s a bummer. This happened to me this year. Blame it on a lack of organization or the hectic nature of my life right now, regardless of the reasons why, I want to do something about. After all, I now know that when spring comes around and I see everyone else’s beautiful tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth blooming, I’m going to be kicking myself every harder.

In thinking about this the other day and talking to one of my dear friends who shares my love for gardening, we decided to try our hand at forcing bulbs this year. In discussing this, we realized what a great idea for a blog this would be! So this is Part I of our journey in forcing bulbs. I receive MANY questions regarding how to force and thought my readers may find it interesting to be led through the process step-by-step with real life results. Who knows how we may fair! We may fail or we may succeed! But one thing is certain: we will definitely learn!

What is Forcing?

Most fall-planted bulbs (such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth) require a “chilling period” in order for them to bloom and grow correctly. In climates where the winter temperatures remain cold enough for an adequate period of time (zones 2 through 7), this “chilling period” is provided naturally when bulbs are planted outdoors. However, if planting outdoors is not an option or you are located in a zone 8, 9, or 10, this chilling needs to be provided some other way. When this is done, it is referred to as “forcing” the flower bulbs. Basically, you are forcing the bulbs to grow and bloom through artificial means.

Next week, I’ll review some general guidelines for getting started and the steps you should take to begin the chilling process. Come along with me on this journey! In fact, you could try this at home along with me with your own fall-planted bulbs. Be sure to let me know if you’ll be forcing your own bulbs and keep me posted on the progress!

Until next time,