Force Bulbs Indoors

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Aiolos Hyacinth bulbs blooming in late-January 2022

I consider bulbs to be the greatest of all living optimists; they poke their small crowns through the ground in January, gleefully whispering to all who pass, "This winter too shall pass; light and an explosion of life are just around the corner." Despite the enormous temperature and weather changes throughout February, they continue to stand tall, resolute in the fact that spring is coming. What these early messengers of spring do not know is that I have been secretly cheating by forcing bulbs indoors this winter and enjoying everything these beauties offer those of us with seasonal affective disorder.


 Bulbs in bags marked with the number of weeks needed in a cold, dark dormancy before being forced indoors.

Before you can start this in your own indoor winter garden, you must start by "forcing" the biological clocks of these bulbs in a cold and dark space. They need to believe they have survived the cold and dark of winter to feel safe enough to emerge in the warmth of your living room. After several seasons of bulb forcing, I have come to love above all others amaryllis, hyacinth, and tulips. This need for the simulation of a cold and dark winter is particularly true for hyacinths and tulips. My amaryllis blooms merely lived in the shade outside over the summer and fully dried out in the fall only to spring to life upon being brought indoors at the end of November.

As a former science teacher, I have recorded the progress and learning I have had in growing each variety. You can follow the progress of each type in the following three posts.

 Bulb Type Necessary Dormancy Period before Forcing Varieties with the Best Results
Amaryllis An unwatered dry fall outside of direct sunlight Amaryllis Minerva, 

Cybister Amaryllis-Chico

Hyacinths Eight weeks at the back of the refrigerator in a box or bag  Aiolos Hyacinth
Tulips Twelve weeks at the back 
of the refrigerator in a box or bag 
Long-stemmed Varieties: Hakuun Tulip, Purissima Blond


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