This time of year it seems I always have a yearning to pot up some bulbs for forcing. . . I’ve done tulips, daffodils, hyancinths, and amaryllis. So, now, true confession time—of all of these, only the amaryllis and hyacinths actually bloomed. Well, that’s not exactly precise, I guess—I did do a pot of mixed bulbs once, and some of the daffodils bloomed. Well, a couple.
Here’s the deal. I love having flowers in February or March, but the only times I’ve ever been successful with forcing bulbs has been when I’ve actually put the pots in the fridge for 8 weeks or so. Needless to say, Trevor isn’t thrilled with the idea of utilizing our entire bottom shelf of the fridge for dirt. (He’s so particular sometimes, isn’t he?)
Last fall, after planting the 300 daffodils, I actually used the ones I couldn’t quite fit in (ok, so I didn’t plant quite 300—more like probably 250) in a couple of big ceramic pots. I stuffed them pretty full—I’m guessing I had at least 20 in each pot.
The problem, then, was that I did not actually have room for two huge pots in my fridge (not a big surprise). So, I thought, well, I’ll leave them in the garage until Christmas or so, at which point they should be suitably dormant, and then I’ll fool them into thinking they’re still outside (but not exposed to the killing temperatures of Minnesota in January) by putting them in the dark and fairly cool basement.
Which I did. And they never bloomed. In early March or late February, I moved them upstairs to a sunny window and watered them well. They actually sent up a few pathetic little shoots. . . and then perished.
I’m not sure what happened.
Ok, in all honesty, it’s quite possible that after that first watering they didn’t get much more. . . and I guess it’s possible that was the cause of their demise. But I don’t really think that was it—they never did really seem to get going.
I’ve also tried to leave pots outside over the winter, surrounded by bags of leaves or something insulating, but that never seems to work either. Eight weeks in the fridge
seems to be the only tried-and-true way of getting it done. But I don’t have the fridge space to spare.
I’ve actually tried to convince Trevor of the wisdom of getting a spare fridge for the sole purpose of forcing bulbs, but so far he hasn’t gone for it.