This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Forcing Beauty in Winter

December 14th, 2011

When I was planting all the tulips a few weeks ago, I made sure to save out four bulbs of each variety to force indoors this winter. Each variety was put in a separate bag and labeled so I know which is which. I also poked holes in the plastic bags to allow the bulbs to breathe a bit. Then all the bags went into a brown paper bag and they were laid to rest in the fridge for the next 2 months.

Come February I’ll take these bulbs out and most like force them in vases of water, I’m thinking a long row of them in a windowsill like this will be really lovely. I don’t have a ton of vases, so I’m thinking I’ll be using mason jars for forcing the bulbs. I might need to buy some river rocks for the bottoms to weigh down the jars to keep them from toppling over. I’ve also saved out a few other varities of bulbs like tiny daffodils and muscari.

When I ordered by tulips, daffodils and other bulbs, I added three different kinds of amaryllises to my order. I gave one of each kind to my mom, since she’s a big fan of amaryllises and always has them blooming around the holidays. Mine are still hanging out in their mesh bags as I’ve keep forgetting to pot them up. They’re starting to sprout though, so I must add this to my to-do list this week! This is my first attempt at forcing bulbs, so I’m kind of excited to see what happens. I’ll have to make sure to plan around a trip to Florida in March, my luck they’d all end up blooming while we’re gone!

Do you force any bulbs in your indoor garden?

11 Comments to “Forcing Beauty in Winter”
  1. daisy on December 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

    What a show you will have come February!
    I’ve never forced bulbs, but it looks like it would be fun!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  2. Corrie on December 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I love forcing bulbs! Just remember to keep them away from apples and other ripening fruit, as the ethylene will ruin the bulbs. Can’t wait to see the results.

    Reply to Corrie's comment

    • Susy on December 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Right, no fruit in the fridge here, always on the counter.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. goatpod2 on December 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

    We don’t really have an indoor garden.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  4. Daedre Craig on December 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I’ve never forced bulbs, but I don’t really like indoor flowers. They are so fleeting, that I always miss them too much when they’re gone!

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  5. Donna B. on December 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I’m a first-timer too, unless you count an Amaryllis… but I’ve not had good luck to get them to bloom the 2nd year – I have one readying so here’s to hoping! /fingers crossed!
    I was given Hyacinth, Anemone, and Muscari in small pots in spring, but never got around to building my front yard bed to house them… because of our oddly warm fall they started to grow! So I up-potted some of them and put them inside in some shot glasses… hey, anything that houses water, right?

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  6. SixBalloons on December 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to see photos of your flowering bulbs lined up on the windowsill.

    Reply to SixBalloons's comment

  7. on December 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I have bulbs in the fridge (it never gets quite cold here in SoCal) and they are starting to grow. Time to move them to the ground!

    Cant wait for your pics of the flowers to follow.

    Reply to's comment

  8. Nancy in Illinois on December 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I forced bulbs one year by bringing my heavy cement birdbath into the dining room near a south window. After their vacation in the refrigerato I used river rock to anchor the bulbs and placed them in the top where water would normally be. It was almost like having a mini planting bed inside. They turned out great-a wonderful early spring display. They do get very tall. If I ever do it again I will use more river rock to better hold the bulbs upright. Good luck with yours. Looking forward to seeing pictures.

    Reply to Nancy in Illinois's comment

  9. KimH on December 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Those tulips on the window sill are gorgeous!! Last year was the first time I ever tried to force bulbs and it was mostly a success. I read that you need to keep the bottom of the bulb completely above water and only let the very very bottom root part touch or they will rot.. some of mine got into some trouble but still produced ok.. Some had no problems at all.

    I really needed some of Nature’s beauty last Feb/March.. It was a blessed sight! ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  10. Anna on January 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I loved this article! So much detailed information! I have forced tulips indoors many a times with success.

    What I found is there are very few pre-chilled bulbs for sale, and it is so hard to find tulip bulbs around this time of the year.

    I found one site:

    They have a great collection of tulip bulbs that are pre-chilled and ready to bloom indoors.

    Reply to Anna's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Getting Creative with our Christmas Cards

I love getting photos of all my friends kids via their Christmas cards, it's a great way to keep up...