Did you know that you can learn how to force tulips to bloom indoors? If you can’t wait until next spring to see these colorful flowers in your garden, then you’re reading the right article.
A Guide to Forcing Tulip Bulbs to Bloom Indoors
Tulips are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful flowers to ever grace any garden. You can buy tulip bulbs in the fall and you can force them to bloom during the winter season. If you want to force tulips, here’s how to do it:
Step #1: Pick the Right Type of Tulips
The shorter types of tulips, like the Tulipa humilis or Red Cross Tulips, are the easiest to force-grow indoors. But if you prefer taller tulips, you could try Apricot Beauty. The general rule of thumb is to choose large and firm bulbs and avoid the soft and small varieties. Keep the bulbs in a cool place until you’re ready to plant them.
Step #2: Force Bloom the Tulips at The Right Time
If you want your tulips to bloom by Christmas or late fall, the best time to force them is during October. Tulips generally need about three to four months to bloom if you start planting them in October or September, but if you start forcing them by December, it’ll only take 8 to 10 weeks for them to bloom.
Step #3: Choose the Best Spot for Your Tulips
Tulips thrive best in clay pots. If you chose to plant taller varieties, make sure to use deeper clay pots. On the other hand, shallow ones work best for shorter tulips. Make sure to use pots with holes in the bottom. Fill the pot halfway with moist soilless potting mix.
Step #4: Use as Many Bulbs as You’d Like
You can plant as many bulbs as you can in one pot for a beautiful and color full bloom. To plant them in clay pots, place the bulbs with their roots down and the top part should be located under the rim. Cover them with the soilless potting mix but make sure you can still see the tip of the bulb noses. Water your bulbs well and take note of the planting date and variety.
Step #5: Kick-Start the Chilling Period
For your bulbs to bloom, you need to place them in an environment that simulates winter. If you don’t chill your bulbs, you won’t be able to produce beautiful and high-quality flowers. Place your potted bulbs in a dark, unheated area with a temperature of around 32 degrees F.
It’s best to place them in a mini greenhouse, but if you don’t have one, you can place them in a refrigerator crisper, in an unheated basement or garage. If you plan to put them inside your fridge, make sure not to place them beside fruits that produce ethylene – a gas that prevents your bulbs from blooming.
For warmer climates, you can leave your potted bulbs outside but make sure the temperature doesn’t go beyond 50 degrees F or is below freezing. Check your potted plants and make sure they’re always moist. As mentioned, the bulbs usually bloom after two to four months, but this depends on the planting time and the type of tulips you’re growing.
If you notice that the roots have developed and the sprouts are starting to grow, then your tulips have had enough chilling.
Step #6: Force Tulips Bulbs to Flower
Once the chilling period is over, bring your pot in a room with bright, indirect light for 14 days. The room temperature should be around 50 to 65 degrees F, but the higher the temperature, the shorter the stems and the faster the flowering.
Once the shoots are at least 2 inches tall, transfer the pots outdoors or in a sunny location with a temperature of around 68 degrees F. You should be able to see them flower within a week or two. If the temperature is cool, the longer your tulips will last.
Why Should You Grow Plants Using a Mini Greenhouse?
With the numerous steps involved in forcing tulips to flower, it’s best to plant them inside a mini greenhouse. Tulip bulbs need a cooling period and then afterward, you’ll need to transfer them to a sunnier location. With a greenhouse, you don’t have to move them from one location to the other.
Greenhouse gardening gives you the ability to control indoor temperature. Using natural and mechanical cooling and heating systems like fans, thermal mass objects, wet walls, vents, shade cloths, etc., you’ll be able to simulate winter and sunny weather conditions.
Other than that, keeping them inside a greenhouse protects your plants from diseases that could infect your plants. You can also protect them from pests and animals that want to munch on your flowers. Lastly, you can keep your tulips safe from unpredictable weather conditions that could instantly damage your flowers.
Final Thoughts on How to Force Tulips to Bloom Indoors
Now that you know how to force tulips to bloom indoors, you should also know how to care for them once they’ve bloomed. Make sure to water your tulips if the soil is dry and keep them out of drafts and direct light. By forcing tulips to bloom, you’ll be able to enjoy a touch of summer during the long winter months.