Forcing Success

Picture 007The sun rises over a winter scene in the garden, yet inside the daffodils and hyacinths are starting to bloom. The gentle forcing of bulbs for winter bloom is a rewarding task.

This is the first daffodil to bloom. It is Katie Heath, a diminutive bloom that belongs to division V, Triandrus daffodils.
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I have learned that one of the first things to know when forcing bulbs, is to use those that are most likely to cooperate!! Division VIII, the Tazetta Daffodils, are one of the easiest to force. The Tazetta are more of a southern daffodil, yet I have found a few that will live on in my zone 6 garden. I have Avalanche and Golden Dawn blooming in my garden that had been forced to bloom in the winter. This is Golden Dawn happily blooming outside a few years later after having been forced to bloom during the winter.

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The ability to live on in my garden, is important to me. I always plant the spent blooms in my garden when the soil is workable in the spring. While it may take a few years to recover, all of the bulbs have returned to bloom again outside. Don’t ever throw those bulbs away!
Hyacinth are also very willing to bloom during the winter months. This is the hyacinth Fondant. The fragrance is just wonderful.

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There is no better reminder of spring than the sweet fragrance of hyacinth

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The hyacinth do become top heavy, however, a few properly placed popsicle sticks that care of that.

So far, I have had 100% success with the bulbs. Every container that I have brought out of the chill room has produced buds. I started out with the containers in a refrigerator. The frig is a larger sized dorm refrigerator, that was not frost free. The bulbs spent at least 14 weeks in this refrigerator. I would check on them once a week, adding any water as necessary. I decided this year to only pot in water and stones. I have used potting soil in the past, but found it to be a bit messy, and not as easy to determine if the roots are growing.

After the 14 weeks, I started to place a few at a time into a darkened, cool back room. I staggered this movement so I could have blooms to enjoy over a period of time. After a few weeks in the chilly room, I uncovered the windows to allow additional light. Then when I noted that the top growth was at 2 to 3 inches, I moved the bulbs out into a room in my house to enjoy.

This is the chilly room. It is a bit dark, and I also have a thermometer to make sure the room stays around 60 degrees, which is ideal for the bulbs.
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You can see the staggered growth here, each one of these containers was brought out with a few weeks time in between.
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So to force success, start with cooperative bulbs and be patient. I found that patience was the key to success as I did not always give the bulbs the time they needed in the chilly temperatures. The other key to success is to plan ahead! I marked my calendar now for a reminder to pot up the bulbs early in October.
Forcing success takes patience, planning and cooperation, just as in the garden so be it in life.



About obsessivecompulsivegardening

I have a hobby that is simply out of control, but the rewards are so great. Join me in my obsession. Thanks for looking, and enjoy!!!
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3 Responses to Forcing Success

  1. Theresa Roth says:

    I could almost smell the heavenly scent of the hyacinth seeing it blooming! I enjoy seeing all of your “forced” bulbs blooming. Keep up the good work!

  2. Anya says:

    Every year when I see photos like this, I wish I had gotten organized to force some bulbs myself. Oh well, maybe next year. But I do have my amaryllis to keep my green thumb from withering away during the winter months. Great photos!

  3. The hyacinth is so beautiful. I vow to learn the art of forcing bulbs after seeing your lovely photos. I enjoyed your post.

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