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Bulbs - Forcing Bulbs

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                                 Everything to Make your Garden Work!

                                         Forcing Bulbs
             1. Choosing bulbs to force                                     4. Cold Period
• The types usually chosen to force are early-          • The bulbs now need a cold, but frost-free period in
blooming, large bulbs.                                  the dark. Place containers in a shady part of the
• Hyacinths are the most reliable, narcissi is very     garden. Cover with 6 inches (15cm) of peat, light
popular and crocus is the favourite smaller bulb. But   soil, leaves or sawdust. If you live in a very cold
don’t limit yourself to these only as there are many    region, or if you have no outdoor area, keep contain-
others to choose from.                                  ers in a crawl space, garage or a dark, cool place.
                                                        The ideal temperature for chilling bulbs is between
• Make sure you choose bulbs which are recom-           just above freezing and 5oC (41oF). Be certain that
mended for indoor cultivation, and select bulbs that    the temperature does not exceed 9oC (48oF) during
are good-sized and firm.                                the cold period, as this would prompt growth too
             2. choosing the container
• Choose shallow plastic or clay containers. Bonsai     • If you don’t have an outdoor area or cold crawl-
pots are a great choice. Be sure the container is       space, put the bulbs in the refrigerator. Be certain to
twice the depth of your chosen bulb to provide room     protect them against the methylene gas produced by
for root development.                                   apples and other fruit by placing the pots or contain-
                                                        ers in a plastic bag and sealing with tape or a twist
• It is advisable to choose a pot with drain-           tie.
age holes if forcing is to take place in the
open garden                                                                5. Bringing the bulbs indoors
                                                                       • The cold period can last anywhere
                3. Planting                                              from 13-20 weeks depending on the
• Use GARDENWORKS indoor potting                                          species and exact temperature.
soil to stabilize the bulbs while they                                     Crocus, Daffodils and Muscari need
are growing.                                                                 approx.. 15 weeks, whereas some
• Start with a layer of moist soil in                                        Tulips may require 20. When there
the bottom of the container. Place                                          is about one inch of green growth
bulbs on this base with tips facing                                        on top of each bulb it is time to
upwards. Make sure that the tips                                          bring the container into a cool room
are also below the rim of the                                           indoors.
container.                                                            • Place the container in a shady spot
• For the best display, set the bulbs                                for the first 4-5 days, then move it
close together but not touching each                                 near a window. The leaves will now
other or the sides of the container.                                  develop and in a couple of weeks
                                                                       buds will form.
• Fill soil in around the bulbs, pressing
firmly but not too tightly. The necks                                  • When the buds begin to colour, the
of hyacinths, narcissus and daffodils                                 container should be moved to the
should protrude above the soil level. All                             desired flowering spot. Bright but not
others can be covered. The container                                 sunny, free from draughts, away from a
should then be watered so that the                                   heater or radiator and not too warm.
growing medium is damp.                                             • Keep the compost moist at all times
                                                                   and occasionally turn the container to
                                                                   promote even growth.
                   Forcing Bulbs Continued
          Bulbs in Water (The Bulb Vase)                                 Pre-chilled Bulbs
The most popular container for forcing bulbs in        • Pre-chilled bulbs are great for beginners, and do
water is the “bulb vase”. These glass receptacles      not require as much time from initial purchase to
are specially designed for holding large bulbs such    blooming time.
as hyacinths.                                          • By providing water and warm conditions to pre-
• Fill the lower section of the vase with water then   chilled bulbs, you can force them to the flowering
place the bulb in the upper section with its base      stage in only 3 to 4 weeks, so they allow one to plant
just touching the water.                               as late as November for Christmas blooms.
• The water level in the vase must be maintained       • Popular pre-chilled bulbs include the narcissi,
at 1/8” (0.3cm) below the base of the bulb.            paperwhites and the Chinese sacred lily.
                                                       • Hyancinths are also very popular, but many people
                   Paperwhites                         do not realize that they need to be chilled further and
Some smaller bulbs, such as paperwhites and            require different treatment. See the bottom para-
miniature narcissus,are often grown in bowls of        graph for more information on chilled (prepared)
gravel.                                                Hyacinths.
• Use a fine quality landscape gravel or marbles. Do
not choose gravel with sharp edges, as these may
damage the bulbs and their emerging roots.                           Timing for Pre-Chilled Bulbs
• Gently wedge the bulbs in the gravel with only           Pre-Chilled bulbs only need about a month from
the tips protruding. The water level must be main-         planting time to bloom time. Use the following
tained to just below the base of the                       chart to determine when to plant your bulbs.
bulb.                                                      This chart does not include treatment for Hya-
• Get your newly-planted vases                             cinths.
and bowls ready for chilling by
wrapping them up well. Place                                     Planting Date         Blooming Date
the containers in a good                                         November 15      December 25
wooden box, and loosely fill
                                                                 December 1       New Years Day
the box with crumpled news-
paper to protect against                                         January 15       Valentines Day
severe cold, as well as
breakage. In very cold
climates, the box can                                                  Prepared Hyacinths
be covered with burlap                                 Hyacinths require 13 to 15 weeks of cold to come out
sacking, rugs or more                                  of dormancy, but you can take 5 weeks off this time
newspaper. See steps 4                                 by buying prepared hyacinths. Prepared hyacinths will
and 5 on the other side                                need another 8 to 10 weeks of chilling before they
of this sheet for                                      will sprout.
complete chilling

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