Forcing bulbs to bloom in winter : explanations !

We all want to have plants that bloom in winter at home, especially for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. They bring gaiety to the interior when the weather looks gloomy, true evocations of spring, and allow you to take care of your decoration. To do this, it’s very simple: just buy a few bulbs and submit them, after a period of preparation, to the forcing technique. Let’s see how to go about it, what conditions must be met to encourage bulbs to flower out of season, and which bulbs can be forced.

What is bulb forcing?

This gardening techniques used for a long time consists in putting bulbs in condition to push them to bloom when it is not the season. It is therefore an artful means which has no other purpose than to deceive a plant by devious means. Resorting to this subterfuge makes it possible, for example, to have tulips in the middle of winter.

The override period requires a preparation which must be undertaken early enough for the bulbous plants to flower well at the end of the year. Let’s get started between September 15 and October 15 because this process takes place over a period of 2 ½ to 3 ½ months. But it also takes 20 to 30 days for the flowers to fully bloom.

What is the bulb forcing technique?

The artful means employed to get spring bulbs to flower indoors in winter are accessible to all gardenerseven the most inexperienced.

This consists first of all in preparing the bulb creating winter conditions for 10 to 14 weeks depending on the plants chosen in order to break the plant dormancy of the bulbs. This is also intended to trigger the rooting phase. By logic, flowering occurs earlier since winter is thereby simulated.

Prepare the bulbs for forcing, in a pot or in the refrigerator

You have to start by storing the bulbs in the cold, between 0 and 8°C. In pots, they are stored in a blind room (without window). But it is also possible to leave them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. In this case, the bulbs are simply wrapped in damp newspaper or enclosed in a very opaque plastic bag. Potted or not, they must imperatively be deprived of light.

Forcing bulbs to flower

Secondly, it is of course essential to create the illusion that spring has arrived in order to trigger the awakening of vegetation. When the new shoots are still very pale and measure 5 to 6 cm in height, the pots should be placed in partial shade or the bulbs taken out of the refrigerator should be planted in potting soil. This transitional period lasts 72 hours. This allows the leaves to green. At the end of this very short period, you must:

  • Install the pots in full light and in a good place sunny where the ambient temperature is about from 18 to 22°C,
  • Turn the pots a quarter turn every 72 hours so that the plants develop harmoniously and their flower buds are well distributed,
  • Water moderately to keep the substrate slightly moist.

Depending on the species, you have to wait another month for the flowers to appear. These should only have blossomed during the spring. Thanks to the forcing of bulbs, we are around Christmas and we can decorate our interior with beautiful bulbs in full bloom.

Forcing in a bulb carafe for the Hyacinth

Note that the Hyacinth is a case particular whose bulb is forced into a carafe, that is to say without it being necessary to plant the onion in a potting soil. Just put a little water in the bottom of the carafe and add a piece of charcoal to preserve the good quality of the water. The Hyacinth bulb is then placed pointing upwards in the neck of the carafe so that there is no contact with the liquid, the water level must be 2 mm from its base.

Then place the carafe in thedarknessat 9 or 10°C, and make sure to add water regularly, respecting the rule of 2 mm spacing between the base of the bulb and the surface of the water. All you have to do is wait until the roots have reached about ten centimeters and the leaves have formed to place the bulb carafe in a bright and warm room in the house. We maintain the water level as said before since the bulb must always remain out of the water so as not to rot. Of course, the roots are submerged.

Which plants to choose for forcing bulbs?

Many bulbous plants can be subjected to the forcing technique and this makes it possible tohave flowers at home during the holiday season. In this category, we can for example set our sights on the following species.

From the beginning to the end of preparation/forcing process, fifteen weeks usually flow. It pays to be patient because the result is guaranteed. However, bulbs that have been forced are unlikely to be able to be forced a second time because they have exhausted all their reserves and may never be able to flower again.

Finally, for those who would take it a little too late but still wish to take advantage of beautiful off-season bloomsit is possible to go to a garden center to buy bulbs prepared for forcing. All you have to do is plant them following the supplier’s recommendations.

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