Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beautiful Blooms By Forcing Bulbs

Fill Your Home With Spring Blooms

Spring flowering bulbs can bloom inside. Start the process of forcing bulbs in the fall for lovely winter blooms. It can be a lot of fun to grow bulbs indoors and make them bloom, and takes up very little room. To make the bulbs bloom, you need to simulate a short winter. Make bulbs think it's winter by placing them in a refrigerator, a cool closet, or even in a foam cooler place on a patio or balcony. This simulated winter will cause the bulbs to grow sturdy roots and start to sprout in preparation for spring.

Use Good Soil

Any commercial organic potting mix is fine for bulbs, or you can make your own. It's not a hard job.Use 2 parts peat moss, one part perlite, and one part sterilized potting soil. Mix these three things together well. That gives you a clean, porous, moisture retaining, nutrient filled potting soil.

Soil from your outside garden may contain bacterial or fungal pathogens that could infect the plant roots since it's not sterilized, so it's better not to use it.

The Bulbs Need A Pot

Once you have your soil prepared, choose the pot you want to use and place a few pieces of broken crockery over the drainage holes. This keeps the hole from clogging up with compacted dirt, and also keeps the dirt from falling out during the planting process.

First, fill the pot half-full of soil mix. Keep the pointed ends up when placing the bulbs in the container. Place the bulbs as close together as possible, but don't let them actually touch. The pot should then be filled with soil mix. Water the bulbs thoroughly from the top or immerse them in a tub of water. That settles the soil around the bulbs.

Leave The Bulbs In The Dark A Whle

Crocus, daffodils and snowdrops work well, or any other early blooming bulbs.  You can find these bulbs at many places.  Just as an example,click here for Daffodils from Breck's, plus many other gorgeous flowering bulbs. To force these early bloomers takes about 12 weeks. Tulips and bulbs like them need longer, about 16 weeks. Keeping bulbs in cold storage for longer times will produce taller flowers.

Not enough time in storage will result in smaller plants and sometimes flowers that start to grown then die.

Light Up Their Life.

After enough time has passed and it's close time for the bulbs to bloom, start chiecking the pots every day or two. When there are shoots 2 to 3 inches above the soil and fine white roots emerging from the drainage holes, it’s time to bring the pots out of cold storage.

At this stage of development all bulbs should be placed in indirect lighting for a while before moving them to direct sunlight. Be carefuly not to allow the soil to dry out.

A gradual transition works best, so move the bulbs first into a location that is still fairly cool if possible, a fairly cool location if possible, such as an unheated entryway or closed off back bedroom, where the temperatures are in the ’50s. Then move them on into the heated areas of the house and into more direct sunlight.

Stay Green - Reuse Those Bulbs.

Once the blooms die, cut their stems off if you wish to reuse the bulbs. Give the foliage plenty of sunlight to allow continued growth. This gathers nutrients for the bulb to bloom next year.

Don't pull the leaves off after the foliage withers. Leave the leaves on the bulbs and store them in their pots in a cool, dry place until they can be planted outside. The bulb is weakened from being forced to bloom inside. Trying to force it to bloom a second time inside doesn't work well. Blooms, if any, produced from a second forcing would be small.

When the bulbs are placed back in the garden, this allows them to return to a natural schedule. After a coulple of years, they should once more produce beautiful blooms.

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