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Forcing Bulbs to Bloom
Forcing bulbs into a splendid winter bloom is a popular indoor garden activity. Most flowering bulbs can easily be "tricked" into blooming indoors in a flowerpot, to brighten up the long winter. With a little effort, you can fill several flowerpots with bulbs, and time it in such a way to have flowering bulbs all winter long!
Forcing bulbs is easy. All you need is some of your favorite flower bulbs, some flower pots, and some potting soil. You can also buy potted bulbs already forced and ready to grow. But why miss out on the fun of making your own creation?
How to Force Bulbs:
You won't believe how easy it is to force blooms any time of year. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Select your favorite flowering bulbs.
2. Determine how you want to arrange them. Imagine how they will look flowering in the pot or container.
3. Fill the pot or container with good quality potting.
Note: Yes, you can use decorative stones in place of soil for most bulbs.
4. Plant the bulbs in the container to the proper depth.
5.Water the pots thoroughly. Drain off excess water. Soil should be moist, not wet.
6. Now the bulbs need a "chilling period". This is a time when the bulb is dormant in a cool environment, simulating it's natural underground winter home in cold soil. The ideal temperature for chilling is 40 degrees, keeping them as close to this temperature as possible. Often the garage or a shed are ideal. Do not let the bulbs freeze.
7. Chill your pots for 12 to 15 weeks. This is the minimum period, but they can be chilled for more. Different bulbs will require varying periods for chilling.
Tip: Make up several pots for a continuous bloom all winter long.
8. Check on the pots from time to time. Make sure that the soil has not dried out. It should be slightly moist, but not wet. During this period, all of the activity is "underground". The bulbs are creating a root system.
Important Tip: While you can chill bulbs in a refrigerator, they interact with many fruits in your refrigerator and will fail to bloom.
9. After the chilling period, bring the pots into a warm, sunny room. The growth period soon begins, and you will be rewarded with bright, fragrant flowers!
Tip: To extend the blooms, move the pots to a cool location at night, and while you are out of the house.
Heating Mats - for an overall healthy start for your seedlings.
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