DIY Network

How to Force Flower Bulbs

Bulbs can be tricked into blooming well before their normal time, filling the house with sunny flowers.

More in Outdoors

hyacinths bulbs are easy to force bloom in winter
  • Time

    Several Months

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Purchase the Bulbs

Forcing bulbs is a technique to trick them into blooming when they ordinarily wouldn't. Tulips, hyacinths and paper white narcissus all are good candidates for forcing. When purchasing bulbs, select only those that are firm to the touch and free of rot and mold.

Step 2: Plant the Bulbs

Fill desired containers half-full of potting mixture. Press bulbs into the soil making sure to place the root sides down. Use as many bulbs per container that can fit without touching each other or the pot. Cover the bulbs with soil.

Step 3: Store the Bulbs

The bulbs need to lie dormant in a cool place for about three months. Dig a trench outside, set the pot in the trench, and cover it with mulch. Another technique is to place the container in the refrigerator.

Step 4: Force the Bulbs

After three months, remove the container from its cool spot and set it in a sunny window. Water and fertilize it regularly. In a few weeks the bulbs will sprout, grow and flower.

forcing tulips bring spring flowers indoor

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe