How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs Indoors
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Forcing hyacinth bulbs indoors is easy with just a little preparation! Read below to learn how to force spring bulbs indoors!
Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs Indoors
Forcing bulbs indoors is such a treat after a long winter! Bulbs like Paper Whites and Amaryllis typically come pre-chilled and don’t require chilling. However, you can force any type of flowering bulb indoors…it just takes a little preparation!
To force bulbs indoors, it’s best to think about nature. Spring bulbs are typically planted in the fall because they require a period of chilling & dormancy. This is true for many plants, including peonies. During this time, the flowers develop within the bulb, and come spring, they begin to emerge!
Hyacinth Bulbs Need to Be Chilled
If you’re hoping to force hyacinth, tulips, daffodils, or ranunculus indoors you will need to chill them for 8-12 weeks. Essentially, you are replicating a winter nap for the bulbs. For exact chilling periods, reference the package that the bulbs come in.
How to Chill Hyacinth Bulbs
During the chilling period, place the bulbs in a paper bag to prevent sunlight from hitting them. Store them in a cool place that stays 35-45 F. A refrigerator is a great option, but do not store next to fruit.
Thinking back to nature – spring comes gradually. So when you begin to wake your bulbs up after their chilling period (begin forcing them), do so over a period of time. Introduce them to warmer temperatures and sunlight slowly.
Although forcing spring bulbs indoors requires a little preparation, they are very easy to grow!
How to Plant the Bulbs
To force the bulbs, nestle them into any type of vessel or container. To secure the bulbs fill the container with a few inches of potting soil or pebbles.
Water the bulbs well, but do not allow them to sit in water. The water line should just kiss the base of the bulb. If the bulb rests in water, it will rot or become stunted.
How to Force Hyacinth Bulbs Indoors:
- Chill The Bulbs: To grow hyacinth bulbs indoors, you’ll need to either purchase pre-chilled bulbs or chill them yourself. You can find pre-chilled bulbs at many florist shops or online. If you cannot find pre-chilled bulbs, you can chill them yourself in a cold frame, cool garage, or refrigerator.
Chill the bulbs for 8-12 weeks at 35-45 degrees F. Do not expose the bulbs to freezing temperatures. If storing in the refrigerator, place inside a paper bag and do not store next to fruit as they will emit a gas that can rot the bulbs.
- Plant the bulbs: You can plant your hyacinth bulbs in almost any jar or vessel. Use potting soil, pebbles & water, or just water! You can use forcing jars or another type of vessel or pot.
To plant the bulb, nestle it into potting soil or pebbles, then fill with water until the water line rests 1/4” below the bulb. Water periodically as needed to keep the water line just below the base of the bulb, and keep in a cool place with very little light until 2” shoots have emerged.
- Force the Hyacinth Flower
Once shoots have emerged, you can begin transitioning the plant to more and more sunlight. Do this over a time span of about a week - essentially you are faking “spring” for the bulbs.
Continue to water as needed, and rotate to promote straight stem growth. After about a week, you can move the plant into your room-temperature home. Place next to a sunny window and rotate every few days for best results.
The hyacinth will bloom approximately 4 weeks after removing from cold storage, and will last for about 2 weeks.
- After flowering: Unfortunately the stress of forcing hyacinth will not permit the bulb to bloom a second time, and the bulb should be composed after it is finished with its flowering show!
You can apply all of these steps to bulbs that require chilling such as: tulips, daffodils, and ranunculus.
Want to force spring bulbs without chilling?