Tips for Flower Bulbs Forcing

If you’re looking for flower bulbs forcing suggestions, here they are.

The easiest bulbs for forcing are:

Paperwhite Narcissus

Paperwhite narcissus; is the most popular forcing bulb; it grows easily in soil or gravel


Amaryllis is the huge flowered and very popular Christmas plant (plant bulb in early November, no cooling necessary)


Large-flowering crocus require 12-14 week rooting period; bulbs can be potted in gravel and water for different effect


Hyacinths are an extremely fragrant spring-time favorite; requires about 12 weeks for rooting; can be forced in special "hyacinth" vases using only water


Colchicum; excellent for forcing, can even grow on a window sill without soil or water; begins blooming in about two weeks


Muscari; requires 16 week rooting time; potup quite a few for flower bulbs forcing (almost touching in the pot), they're small


Iris; especially iris reticulata are easy to force, but need careful attention to drainage; require about 15 weeks for rooting; don't hold iris bulbs too long before potting; tall-stemmed iris are less suited to forcing

Other thoughts on flower bulbs forcing

Get some grow lights or a greenhouse for best results.

Forced tulips do not do quite as well as garden planted tulips because they require a long rooting period at regular/even (non-fluctuating) temperatures to be successful. Allow at least 15 weeks for rooting.

Plant tulip bulbs with their flat side facing the rim, this will position the larger outer leaves toward the pot rim, where they will drape gracefully over the edge of the pot.

Daffodils require very bright light, such as that found in a greenhouse, to flower well. Too little sun results in leggy growth and no blossoms. Only the miniature varieties (hybrid) daffodils are recommended for home forcing. Daffodils usually require a 12-14 week rooting period.

Once removed from the rooting area, daffodils must be placed in a location that receives lots of sun, say an enclosed porch or sun room or under a skylight.

Lily-of-the-Valley are often pre-cooled when you buy them, so they will bloom three to four weeks after planting if pre-cooled. If not pre-cooled, they’ll produce leaves and no flowers. (Check with the garden center or store where you purchase them but the odds are the sales clerks will not know).

Freesias don't require a cooling period, however they usually require a lot of sunshine and about three months of growth time before they bloom. These fragrant flowers do best in a very bright room with daytime temperatures of about 70°F and nighttime temperatures of about 50°F.

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